Reigning Premiership champions Celtic will be looking to get back to winning ways after suffering their first league defeat of the campaign. The Hoops were beaten in what was arguably their most high-stakes game of the season so far. Not only did they drop three points to Rangers in the title race, but more worryingly, they were completely outplayed by their fiercest rivals. The fixture ended 2-0 after ninety minutes, as two goals from Connor Goldson helped Rangers open up a four point gap over the Celts atop the table.
Celtic started the season in excellent fashion but were unable to qualify for the Champions League, after crashing out against Ferencvaros in the qualifying round. Since that point though, the Hoops had been on a roll of sorts in the league, which was only ended by the Gers recently. The Celts will have to use this match against Milan as an opportunity to show the fans that the defeat to Rangers was nothing more than a blip, especially considering that the Parkhead faithful are hoping for a tenth straight league title this season.
The Hoops have been going through a crisis of sorts in terms of injuries over recent weeks, with several key first-team names currently unavailable for selection. The most worrying position right now is undoubtedly at the back, as the Celts were forced to give Stephen Welsh a rare start. Christopher Jullien, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Nir Bitton were unavailable for the last tie, while Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard were missing in the attack. Jullien however, is likely to make his return to the side for this important European fixture.
Here Is The Predicted 3-5-2 Celtic Lineup Vs AC Milan:
Predicted 3-5-2 Celtic Lineup Vs AC Milan
Vasilis Barkas was brought in by the Celts as a first-choice option to provide direct competition to Scott Bain in goal. Although there were some questions raised about his quality at the start, it looks like the Greek keeper is set as Lennon’s go-to option in between the sticks. In front of him, expect Lennon to bring Christopher Jullien back into the side in place of Welsh, who replaced him last weekend. The other two defenders – Shane Duffy and Kristoffer Ajer, are likely to retain their places though.
The Hoops midfield was the one area of the pitch that really struggled to have an impact in the defeat to Rangers. Despite this, considering the injuries that they’ve been through, Neil Lennon is likely to be forced into sticking with the same midfield line for this tie. Olivier Ntcham could take up the slightly more advanced role, with Scott Brown and Callum McGregor expected to sit just behind him. Diego Laxalt and Jeremie Frimpong are likely to continue as the wing-backs.
With Odsonne Edouard, James Forrest and Ryan Christie unavailable for selection, Lennon could resort to playing Mohamed Elyounoussi in the central attacking role once again. Alongside him, however, we could see the return of Swiss striker Albian Ajeti to the first-team. The former West Ham man was only a substitute in the defeat against Rangers, but now having trained for a few days more, it’s likely that he will be given the nod to start the tie.