Despite Celtic’s sheer dominance in Scottish football and the Old Firm derbies, the Sunday afternoon mega-event versus the fierce rivals Rangers might just be the ‘sweetest’ of the season if they manage to register another victory as it will seal their seventh successive Premiership title and achieving the glory beating the Light Blues will be the icing on the cake for the Parkhead outfit.
Celtic are on the verge of scripting history as they are closing in on two successive domestic treble winning campaigns and Brendan Rodgers, the Hoops boss, has certainly upgraded the Bhoys and taken them miles ahead compared to the league counterparts.
Rangers suffered a 4-0 humiliation a couple of weeks back against the age-old rivals in the Scottish Cup semi-final tie but are determined to grab a result at Celtic Park and delay Celtic’s celebration for at least a few more days.
Celtic have a couple of resources in form of Jonny Hayes and Nir Bitton who are ruled out for the season with a broken leg and knee surgery. Right-back Mikael Lustig is a doubt too following a broken toe but is hoping to return to action for the derby encounter on Sunday afternoon.
Rodgers has frequently experimented with his team set-ups as he often shifted a ‘back four’ to a three-man backline and vice versa. He, however, is likely to field the Bhoys in a 4-2-3-1 pattern and clinch another historic triumph over the famous rivals.
Scott Bain was doing a commendable job between the sticks as Craig Gordon’s deputy. But the veteran Scotsman has now recovered from his injury and is back in action regaining the ‘number 1’ role.
Right-back Mikael Lustig is doubtful with a broken toe and will go through a late fitness test ahead of Sunday’s encounter. Jack Hendry is likely to continue as a makeshift fullback if the Swedish defender fails to recover on time but the rest three of Celtic’s ‘back four’ will remain unaltered. Kristoffer Ajer and Dedryck Boyata will continue as the central defensive duo whereas youngs sensation Kieran Tierney will be occupying his usual left-back role.
Skipper Scott Brown will feature in his destructive deep-lying midfield role and likely to be partnered by Olivier Ntcham in the heart of Celtic midfield. James Forrest has been in a stupendous form of late and will retain his wide midfield role down the right-hand flank. Versatile Callum McGregor will feature on the opposite flank whereas Australian sensation Tom Rogic will be operating from an advanced attacking midfield role with a view to extending his scoring tally versus the Light Blues.
Although the Hoops have multiple striking options in form of Leigh Griffiths, Odsonne Edouard and Moussa Dembele, Rodgers is likely to prefer the latter who has maintained a great scoring record against the age-old rivals in recent meetings.