Saturday, February 4, 2023

Kennedy To Make Two Changes? | Predicted 4-2-3-1 Celtic Lineup To Face Rangers

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Pratyay Maitra
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Celtic have not only surrendered their ‘ten in a row’ mission to Rangers but also failed to win a single Old Firm derby all season across competitions. These two sides would lock horns this weekend for one final time, but the dead rubber derby is still relevant for the Hoops who might still spoil the Gers’ party by ending their unbeaten league status.

Rangers, meanwhile, suffered a shocking Scottish Cup exit in the tie-breaker against St. Johnstone despite knocking the Bhoys out in the previous round. The Ibrox tie on Sunday lunchtime might not be a stroll in the park for the home side and we might witness end-to-end stuff as it occurred a couple of weeks ago when the Bears clinched a 2-0 triumph.

Predicted 4-2-3-1 Celtic Lineup To Face Rangers

Defence

Vasilis Barkas, the high-profile summer signing, seems to be the third-choice behind Scott Bain and Conor Hazard in the pecking order. Bain is expected to retain his place between the sticks having restored the stability to some extent after a start.

Kristoffer Ajer missed the Aberdeen tie due to a shoulder strain but is expected to return and partner Stephen Welsh in the heart of defence. Jonjoe Kenny should keep hold of his right-back role whereas Greg Taylor should continue to be preferred over Diego Laxalt, particularly after the latter’s shambolic derby display that saw him being taken off at half-time. Nir Bitton would have to make way for Ajer if the Norwegian recovers in time.

Celtic attacker Ryan Christie in action against Rangers' Borna Barisic
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Luke Nickerson/Rangers FC/Shutterstock 11812533af Rangers Defender Borna Barisic and Celtic Midfielder Ryan Christie battle for possession of the ball Celtic v Rangers, Scottish Premiership, Football, Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, UK – 21 Mar 2021 Celtic v Rangers, Scottish Premiership, Football, Celtic Park, Glasgow, Scotland, UK – 21 Mar 2021 PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTXHUNxGRExMLTxCYPxROMxBULxUAExKSAxONLY Copyright: xLukexNickerson/RangersxFC/Shutterstockx 11812533af

Midfield

A double pivot of Scott Brown and Callum McGregor should still be preferred even though the duo have failed to meet the standard set by themselves. This is going to be Brown’s final Old Firm derby before leaving for Aberdeen this summer in a player-manager role and the skipper, therefore, would aim to make a difference to paint the occasion memorable. McGregor, on the other hand, has been underwhelming irrespective of his work ethics and should concentrate more on retaining possession deep down the pitch.

James Forrest missed the previous clash but is likely to return to action for the weekend encounter. He might replace Ryan Christie on the right-hand flank allowing David Turnbull to occupy the ‘number 10’ status. In-form Mohamed Elyounoussi would operate from the left and combine with Odsonne Edouard with crosses and link-up play.

Attack

Edouard is struggling of late but should still keep hold of his ‘number 9′ role in order to spearhead the Hoops’ attack. Leigh Griffiths might make an impact as a ‘super sub’ as he did against the Dons with an injury-time equalizer.

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