Reigning Premiership champions Celtic will be looking to continue their winning streak in the league when they welcome Old Firm rivals Rangers to Parkhead this weekend. Any fan of Scottish football will tell you the prominence of this match, but considering the minute distance between the two sides on the table as well, this fixture has a lot hanging in it for either side. The Celts are currently just a point behind Rangers, albeit with a game in hand. A win for either side would vastly tip the scales in their favour.
The Hoops are coming into this tie on the back of a last-gasp 2-0 win against St. Johnstone a couple of weeks ago when two goals in the final few minutes of the tie earned them all three points. Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala were the two scorers on the night, and Neil Lennon will likely have to deploy one of them from the start for this fixture as well. With Rangers also displaying a good run of form, the home side can be rest assured that they’re going to be given quite the test by the current leaders of the Premiership.
Celtic’s team, unlike their weekend opponents, has taken a massive hit over the course of the international break. Key names have been dropping like flies, and Lennon will surely have to dip into his reserves to field a strong enough squad. The biggest concern will definitely be the potential absence of two striking options in Odsonne Edouard and Albian Ajeti. Apart from that, Ryan Christie, Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed are all unavailable for selection, while James Forrest is facing an extended spell on the sidelines as well.
Here Is The Predicted 3-5-2 Celtic Lineup Vs Rangers
Predicted 3-5-2 Celtic Lineup Vs Rangers
Vasilis Barkas is yet to miss a league game since being brought into the eleven, which means that the Greek keeper is likely to retain his place in the side. In front of him though, Lennon will be forced to make a change, owing to the fact that Nir Bitton is currently suffering from the Coronavirus. This means that he could be replaced by Christopher Jullien in the heart of the defence, alongside the dependable heads of Irish loanee Shane Duffy as well as prodigious Norwegian starlet Kristoffer Ajer.
Despite all the injuries that they’ve had to deal with over the last couple of weeks, the one position that seems to look intact at this point is the midfield line. The usual core of Scott Brown and Callum McGregor are expected to start, with Olivier Ntcham taking up the slightly more advanced role in front of them. As for the wing-backs, expect Jeremie Frimpong to keep his place over on the right flank, while recent loan acquisition Diego Laxalt could replace the usual presence of Greg Taylor.
With a flurry of key players out of contention, the strike position is one where the Celts are assured to be weaker than usual. Despite this, Lennon will have to try and find a way through the rather solid defence line that Rangers have been deploying. Patryk Klimala is expected to come into the side in one of the striking roles, as the youngster would offer a much more dynamic presence than Leigh Griffiths. Mohamed Elyounoussi is likely to start alongside him and will be tasked with producing a majority of the attacking creativity for the Hoops.