A thrilling late win against Aberdeen prior to the international break must have uplifted the spirit in Celtic camp after a difficult start under Ange Postecoglou across competitions. The growing injury problems did not help the gaffer either, however, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel ahead of locking horns with Motherwell at Fir Park.
An array of first-team stars are closing in on their long-awaited return, but the Hoops must stay cautious given the Well’s exquisite run of form. Celtic have dominated this fixture in recent meetings and should secure all three points despite being a point behind in the league standings.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Motherwell
The Bhoys were forced to rotate between Vasilis Barkas, Scott Bain and Conor Hazard throughout the previous term. None of them impressed enough to secure the ‘number 1’ status, but the summer arrival of veteran Joe Hart has now restored stability between the sticks. The Englishman is set to retain his place on Saturday afternoon.
The weekend tie might come too soon for Josip Juranovic which would see Anthony Ralston continuing as the right fullback similar to the previous outing. Greg Taylor is sidelined for months with a shoulder injury and the manager might once again rely on academy prodigy Adam Montgomery ahead of Liam Scales and Boli Bolingoli. Christopher Jullien is in good shape having recovered from a severe knee strain, but the Frenchman won’t be deployed immediately at the heart of the backline. Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt are yet to find rhythm and chemistry in deep defence. Nevertheless, the pair must be allowed more minutes to settle in new surroundings and form resilience.
The return of skipper Callum McGregor is a massive boost in the middle of the park. But he is more flexible in a box-to-box role over featuring as a ‘number 6’ at the base of a three-man midfield. Nir Bitton should get the nod as a deep-lying playmaker which would allow free space to both David Turnbull and McGregor. The same setup worked well against the Dons and the likes of James McCarthy and Tom Rogic might get introduced from the bench to make a difference late in the match.
Although James Forrest, Mikey Johnston and Giorgos Giakoumakis are recovering from their respective injury concerns, the attacking third is pretty straightforward for the Bhoys with Liel Abada and Filipe Jota set to operate from the flanks allowing Kyogo Furuhashi to lead the line ahead of Albian Ajeti.