It was supposed to be a stroll in the park for Celtic when they locked horns with Alloa Athletic in the Scottish Cup 4th Round fixture. Although they grabbed an edgy win against the League One minnows, three first-team stars limped off the pitch during the encounter. The Hoops have to recover in no time and prepare for a tricky midweek contest versus Hearts.
The Jam Tarts grabbed a 2-1 win against Celtic at Tynecastle in the opening gameweek of the 2021-22 campaign. They lost in the next two meetings across competitions, but the home ambience might once again work in favour of the Edinburgh hotshots when they would be hosting the Glasgow giants on Wednesday night.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Hearts
Joe Hart is likely to wear the captain’s armband with Callum McGregor set to miss months of football following a head injury on Saturday night. The custodian has redefined his form since plying trade north of the border.
Carl Starfelt is expected to retain his place in the heart of the backline, but the other three defenders from the Alloa game might make way for this Premiership outing. Josip Juranovic has been preferred down the right in recent fixtures, whereas the presence of Cameron Carter-Vickers would be crucial to maintain resilience and composure in the defensive third. Greg Taylor should replace Liam Scales and reclaim his left-back role.
A majestic debut versus Hibernian must have cemented Reo Hatate’s place in the centre of the pitch. His box to box movements and down the middle runs would help the Bhoys dominate the midfield game, also the creative spark of Tom Rogic should leave a similar impact, with his ability to carry the ball forward banking on exquisite dribbling skills. Skipper McGregor, David Turnbull and Yosuke Ideguchi are sidelined through injuries and the gaffer might rely on James McCarthy’s experience as the deep-lying playmaker over Nir Bitton’s versatility.
Liel Abada has been the other casualty from the Alloa game who joins Kyogo Furuhashi on the sidelines. But the Celts must be boosted by Filipe Jota’s return as the young Portuguese is expected to feature from his preferred left-hand flank. James Forrest should operate from the right and the manager is likely to rely on Daizen Maeda high up the pitch following his scoring debut against Hibernian. Mikey Johnston and Giorgos Giakoumakis would be there to make an impact as second-half substitutes.