Celtic absolutely thrashed Israeli champions Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the first leg of their Champions League playoff. An emphatic 5-2 win at Parkhead gives the Hoops a major upper hand over the Israeli side and Brendan Rodgers’ boys look all set to enter the group stage of the Champions League, something that was probably his biggest priority when he was offered the job. Celtic have now scored a total of 10 goals in their last two games which suggests that Rodgers has done a great work at Parkhead so far.
Celtic started their Premiership campaign with a 2-1 win against Hearts and will travel to McDiarmid Park on Saturday to face St. Johnstone. The hosts are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions and are right now sit second on the table with 4 points from 2 games. Celtic have real momentum heading into the game and the quality of the Bhoys is likely to prove too much for the Saints.
Rodgers has tried different tactics from the start of the season and had their impressive win against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Rodgers is likely to stick to it against St. Johnstone.
Here is the predicted Celtic lineup for the game.
Craig Gordon will keep his place under the bar ahead of new signing Dorus de Dries. Kolo Toure has done a remarkable job since his move to Parkhead and the iconic Ivorian will keep his place at the heart of the defence. Alongside Toure, we can expect Erik Sviatchenko to start as the Dane is now fit. Youngster Eoghan O’Connell played all the 90 minutes in the midweek and is likely to be rested. Mikael Lustig and Kieran Tierney should start in the two full-back positions.
Nir Bitton is expected to start the game in the middle of the park in place of Callum McGregor who started in the midweek. Skipper Scott Brown will keep his place in the two-man midfield. Tom Rogic had a brilliant game against Hapoel in the midweek but limped off with an injury. The extent of the injury is yet to be disclosed but the Aussie is unlikely to be risked against the Saints. Stuart Armstrong is likely to start the game as the number ten. A rejuvenated James Forrest will start on the right flank while Scott Sinclair will retain his place on the opposite flank.
Leigh Griffiths has started the season on a strong note. The 40-goal scorer from last season has already notched five this season in all competitions having scored a brace against Hapoel Be’er Sheva. The 25-year-old is an obvious starter as the number nine.