The winter camp in Dubai is going well for Celtic ahead of hosting Hibernian at Parkhead on Monday night. Neil Lennon would be keen on securing a victory against his former side, particularly following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat against Rangers despite delivering a spirited show at Ibrox.
Hibs, under Jack Ross, are not having the best of the run of late. They suffered three successive defeats during the festive period and are now desperate to bounce back ahead of locking horns with the reigning Champions. While a finish above Aberdeen would be their season objective, the Hoops are not yet giving up on the title hunt with 19 games remaining.
Predicted 4-1-3-2 Celtic Lineup Against Hibernian
Custodian Vasilis Barkas was dropped due to a dismal run of form and got replaced by academy graduate Conor Hazard. But the Greece international regained his place versus Dundee United and retained the same against the Gers in the Old Firm derby. Lennon is likely to rely on his big-money recruit once again in the upcoming gameweek.
A serious knee injury has ruled Christopher Jullien out for up to four months, whereas the suspension of Nir Bitton (for receiving the marching order versus Rangers) should see Shane Duffy reclaiming a starting status alongside the promising Kristoffer Ajer in the heart of the backline. Jeremie Frimpong has been excellent from his right-back role with relentless overlapping runs, crosses and cut insides, but the gaffer must bring in Greg Taylor down the left in place of AC Milan loanee Diego Laxalt for the aggressiveness and the attacking intent of the Scotsman’s game.
Skipper Scott Brown is indeed past his prime, but the emergence of 22-year-old Ismaila Soro has handed Lennon a significant boost in terms of physicality and work-rate from the deep-lying midfield role. The young Ivorian should keep his place alongside Callum McGregor, whose unfortunate own goal ruined the Bhoys’ party at Ibrox. The Scotland international, known for his versatility and set-piece traits, would be keen on making an impact with his link-up play, down the middle runs and creative spark. Ryan Christie was dreadful against the Bears but is expected to start from the right-hand flank amid the injury absence of James Forrest. David Turnbull has settled in well as a ‘number 10’ and secured his place in the starting XI.
Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths came close but failed to beat past majestic Allan McGregor last Saturday. But they are back among goals and would look to add a few more to their tally against the Edinburgh outfit.