Premiership giants Celtic will be hoping to progress into the finals of last season’s Scottish Cup when they face off against Aberdeen this weekend. The earlier parts of the competition were conducted last season, but as football was brought to a halt by the worldwide pandemic, it was postponed till now. Celtic will be looking to finally get back to winning ways through this clash, as Neil Lennon’s side are without victory in their last four fixtures across all competitions. Defensive fragility has been an issue, and the manager will be hoping that they can address that this time around.
Celtic’s latest outing was a Europa League encounter against Lille, where despite taking a seemingly comfortable 2-0 advantage in the first half, they were unable to see out the win. The match prior to that was actually against the Dons themselves, where the Hoops came back from a goal down to make it 3-2, only for the home side to equalise in the final minutes through a penalty. Their two games before that draw both ended in defeat, having lost to both Rangers and AC Milan in a matter of just days.
The Celts have been receiving quite a bit of positive news in terms of injuries over the last week, with the likes of Hatem Abd Elhamed, Nir Bitton and Odsonne Edouard now back to full fitness. Although the return of these key names will undoubtedly come as a boost to Lennon’s ambitions, an injury that they picked up against Lille will be concerning him. Kristoffer Ajer pulled up in the Europa League outing in midweek, and his absence could prove to be costly at the back. James Forrest is another player who is an unlikely feature.
Predicted XI: Bain; Frimpong, Duffy, Bitton, Laxalt; Brown, McGregor; Christie, Ntcham, Elyounoussi; Edouard
One of the biggest injury concerns for the Dons will be the absence of Dylan McGeouch, who is scheduled to return only in about eight weeks, having suffered an unfortunate groin injury. They could be boosted though, by the expected returns of Ryan Edmondson and Marley Watkins. Whether or not they’re able to pull off what they did last weekend once again remains to be seen, as the likes of Mikey Devlin, Matty Kennedy, Greg Leigh and Curtis Main are all still on the road back to fitness.
Predicted XI: Lewis; Hoban, Taylor, Considine; Hedges, Ferguson, McCrorie, Hayes; Wright, Edmondson, Watkins
Here Is The Celtic Vs Aberdeen Tactical Preview:
Celtic Vs Aberdeen Tactical Preview
The Hoops will be hopeful that the return of Odsonne Edouard will have a positive effect on their attacking play. Albian Ajeti has struggled to be their main man in attack for the last couple of weeks, and Edouard’s ability to pick up dangerous positions in the box will be pivotal. Expect the Celts to retain large chunks of possession, where they could try to use the width provided by Ryan Christie and Mohamed Elyounoussi to try and break down the Aberdeen defence.
The Dons are likely to deploy similar tactics to the ones they used against Neil Lennon’s side last weekend. A deep block is always expected against Celtic, irrespective of who they are playing. Aberdeen will be no exception, as keeping Celtic from scoring is always going to be the first priority. As it was last time around, they could look to break the Hoops down on the counter-attack, potentially catching Shane Duffy out for pace in the final third of the pitch.
Mohamed Elyounoussi has been the lone shining star in this Celtic team over the last couple of fixtures, as he scored both the goals against Lille as well. It’ll be crucial that he’s able to maintain the same level of form for this clash too.
The experience and width that Jonny Hayes provided down the flank last weekend was crucial to the Dons’ performance, and that trend is likely to continue. Moreover, the fact that the winger has insider knowledge about Celtic will be a bonus too.