Kyogo Furuhashi’s absence did not make much of a difference on Saturday afternoon when Celtic registered a commanding 3-0 win against Ross County. They are now set to travel to Spain on Thursday night and lock horns with Real Betis in a Europa League encounter.
The Hoops clinched a stunning 2-1 win against Barcelona back in 2012 but have lost all the major European outings versus the Spanish opponents ever since. Beticos, meanwhile, were struggling in the league under Manuel Pellegrini, but a win against Granada on Monday night must have uplifted the spirit en route to scripting a victory in the familiar surroundings of Estadio Benito Villamarín.
Ange Postecoglou has been aggressive so far with his formation and playing style. However, he must concentrate more on their defensive game to claim a result from this tricky away outing. Bayer Leverkusen and Ferencvárosi are the other two sides of Group G and a favourable outcome this midweek would put them in the driver’s seat before hosting the German heavyweights in the next European gameweek.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Real Betis
Joe Hart’s arrival has restored stability between the sticks and the former Manchester City star holds all the traits to make a difference in such a high-profile outing.
A shoulder injury against the Staggies forced Greg Taylor to leave the pitch minutes into the second half. Boli Bolingoli has not been registered in their Europa League squad and the gaffer, thus, should deploy right-back Josip Juranović down the left-hand side of Celtic’s backline. Anthony Ralston missed the Ross County tie due to medical reasons, but the in-form Scotsman is expected to return for the Betis game. He should occupy his usual right-back role, whereas a scoring debut must have cemented Cameron Carter-Vickers’ place in the heart of the Hoops’ defence. Postecoglou might once again opt for Carl Starfelt’s experience over Stephen Welsh as the other central defensive option.
Celtic have a stable three-man midfield with skipper Callum McGregor operating from the base. Despite having James McCarthy in the ranks, the manager might keep the set-up unchanged by lining up David Turnbull and Tom Rogic as wide midfielders. Ismaila Soro might get introduced at some point based on the mood of the match.
The Bhoys would feel the absence of Furuhashi high up the pitch but is likely to have James Forrest back to feature from the flanks. The veteran Scotland international has swapped sides to make way for teenage prodigy Liel Abada down the right and should get the nod on the left ahead of Filipe Jota if declared fit for the upcoming tie. A brace against Ross County should see Albian Ajeti leading the line in spite of Giorgos Giakoumakis’ stellar goal-scoring record in the Eredivisie.