Celtic face Heart of Midlothian FC this weekend in the 22nd match week of the Scottish Premiership. And although the rest of the season seems like a mere formality for Brendan Rodgers’ men, with the Bhoys leading the league table by a staggering 22 points, Celtic would definitely like to continue their 14-match winning streak as they advance and target to finish the campaign unbeaten.
The last time these two sides met was on the first day of the season where Celtic won 2-1 at the Tynecastle Stadium. And Rodgers would expect to have a similar result this time too, especially given their home form this season. They have won all their 10 homes games so far, collecting 30 points.
On the other hand, Hearts have been quite nervy in their away fixtures, collecting 10 points from their 10 away games and are clearly the underdogs for this game. And after a somewhat experimented line-up against St. Johnstone in the midweek fixture that didn’t give Celtic as many goals as they were expecting, Rodgers is likely to fall back to his tried and tested success formula.
Craig Gordon will take his place under the bar. The Scottish international will be hoping for a clean sheet against Heart this time after he failed to acquire in their last fixture.
Mikael Lustig is expected to take his place as the left back again. Rodgers opted to rest him for the midweek game in favour of the Costa Rican Cristian Gamboa and the manager will have his first choice full back fresh for the game.
The other flank will be taken by Emilio Izaguirre. The Honduras international has been a regular figure for the Celtic side this season and he too was rested last game with Kieran Tierney taking the spot. The centre-half position will be taken by the duo of Erik Sviatchenko and Kolo Toure. Jozo Simunovic played in the midweek and we expect him to start this game from the bench.
We expect Rodgers to fall back to the two midfield setup that provides extra cushion to the back four and also maintain the offence to defence transition quite smoothly. Stuart Armstrong and skipper Scott Brown started as attacking midfielders last game and we expect them to start more centrally and defensively.
Callum McGregor started the midweek’s game from the bench and Rodgers was cautious enough not to use him. He will start in the no.10 role.
The flanks will be taken by Scott Sinclair and James Forrest. Both started the midweek’s game. Sinclair is the highest scorer for the club with 11 goals in 18 appearances. Moussa Dembele will start up front in the striker’s role.
Lustig – Sviatchenko – Toure – Izaguirre
Armstrong – Brown
Forrest – McGregor – Sinclair
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