Celtic are on the verge of reclaiming the Scottish crown ahead of hosting Hearts on Saturday afternoon. It would have been the icing on the cake had they defeated Rangers last week, however, a second-half equalizer from Fashion Sakala spoiled the mood of the Parkhead crowd.
Having said that, it’s a matter of when and not if for the Hoops and a win against the Jamtarts should be enough to conquer the silverware. Hearts, on the other hand, have secured a third-place finish on their top-flight return and the Scottish Cup final against Rangers is the only fixture that matters the most for Robbie Neilson’s men.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Hearts
Joe Hart conceded at his near post against the Gers, but he made some key saves late in the game to avoid a setback. The veteran Englishman must stay alert and aim for a clean sheet on Saturday lunchtime.
Josip Juranovic is still nursing an injury picked up during the Scottish Cup semifinal at Hampden Park. Anthony Ralston is expected to deputize him once more down the right, whereas Greg Taylor should keep hold of his left-back role after impressing in recent months. Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt have been resolute all season in the heart of the backline.
Celtic are well equipped in the centre of the pitch as they added the likes of Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi and Matt O’Riley back in the winter window. Hatate and O’Riley are likely to retain their starting status along with skipper Callum McGregor deep down the midfield. The Scotsman has been majestic in terms of pulling the strings and screening the defence as a ‘number 6’. His presence has enabled others to operate in a box to box role and showcase free-flowing football. David Turnbull, Nir Bitton, Tom Rogic and James McCarthy should remain among the substitutes over potential involvement as ‘super subs’.
Kyogo Furuhashi, back from a long injury layoff, is tipped to spearhead the Bhoys’ attack similar to the Old Firm clash. Filipe Jota is enjoying a blistering form from the right-hand flank, also the immense work ethic week in week out has earned Daizen Maeda a regular spot ahead of Mikey Johnston, James Forrest and Liel Abada. Giorgos Giakoumakis poses a different kind of attacking threat compared to Furuhashi and the Greek ‘number 9’ should get involved at some stage in place of the Japanese hitman.