In spite of a spirited display, Celtic endured elimination from the Champions League qualifiers following an extra-time defeat against Midtjylland. They must step up now for the weekend contest and begin their quest of reclaiming the Premiership crown at Tynecastle. It won’t be a stroll in the park against Hearts who are back to the top flight of Scottish football after going down controversially a year ago.
Ange Postecoglou must be aiming for a winning start but, at the same time, should find a way to create more chances in the attacking third. His free-flowing football is eye-catching, however, it still remains a doubt whether the players are ready to execute the same all throughout 90 minutes.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Hearts
Amid rumours of Celtic’s approaching Joe Hart, the gaffer is yet to decide on who is the ‘number 1’ between Scott Bain and Vasilis Barkas. He might opt for the Scot who featured in the return leg fixture on Wednesday night, but a decision needs to be taken to resolve the goalkeeper conundrum in the long run.
The Hoops do not have any recognized right-back other than Anthony Ralston and the academy graduate is expected to retain his place until a new signing is announced. The availability of Carl Starfelt is a massive boost for Postecoglou and the Swedish centre-half is ready to step in alongside Stephen Welsh having completed his quarantine period. Greg Taylor needs to make the chances count down the left-hand side of a ‘back four’.
The void left by Scott Brown is too big to fill and the pressure would be immense on Ismaila Soro who must live up to expectations from his deep-lying role. Skipper Callum McGregor was exquisite against Midtjylland and his box to box movements, high work ethics, creativity and set-piece attributes might make a difference against the Edinburgh side. David Turnbull was the only shining light in a gloomy 2020-21 season and the Scotsman must continue his mastery as a midfield attacker. Tom Rogic is determined to redeem the lost status under his former international boss and the Aussie playmaker might get involved at some point if the situation demands.
Liel Abada found the net on his Celtic debut, but the gaffer should bank on James Forrest’s experience for this Premiership contest. The future remains uncertain for Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard, but the pair must honour their contracts and help the Hoops secure all three points on Saturday night.
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