Celtic are in flying form under Ange Postecoglou since the season resumed post-winter break. They have a nine-point cushion over Rangers at the top of the Premiership standings and a result on Monday afternoon could potentially see them conquering back-to-back league crowns.
The Hoops are set to travel to Ibrox to lock horns with the Light Blues. The confidence must be sky-high after a 4-0 midweek triumph at Easter Road, also an identical scoreline was achieved by the Bhoys when these two sides clashed heads at Parkhead back in September. Rangers have appointed Michael Beale as their new manager and it remains to be seen how they kickstart the new year under the Englishman.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Rangers
Celtic roped in Benjamin Siegrist on a Bosman during the summer window. They also have Scott Bain in their ranks, but the Aussie boss must stick with the veteran Joe Hart between the sticks given his experience and expertise of the highest order.
Carl Starfelt is back in business after a brief spell on the sidelines. He has reunited with Cameron Carter-Vickers in the heart of the backline and the manager must rely on his preferred central defensive pair despite having the likes of Moritz Jenz, Stephen Welsh and the winter signing Yuki Kobayashi among the other options.
Josip Juranovic returned to the matchday squad after a deep World Cup run for Croatia. He is expected to reclaim his starting role even though Reo Hatate has been excellent as a makeshift right fullback. Anthony Ralston remains unavailable due to an injury woe, but the other winter recruit Alistair Johnston would be eligible for selection. Greg Taylor should keep his place on the left with Alexandro Bernabei still struggling to attune to the aggression of the Scottish game.
With Juranovic back in action, Hatate is likely to be restored in the middle of the park. Matt O’Riley is irreplaceable for his vision, versatility, range of passing and ball-carrying ability. However, the presence of skipper Callum McGregor deep down the midfield would allow both Hatate and O’Riley to make box-to-box runs and play free-flowing football. In spite of firing a brace against Hibs, Aaron Mooy might have to make way for the Old Firm clash. He, along with David Turnbull, have to wait for their opportunities as second-half substitutes.
Postecoglou might undergo a selection dilemma with ample attacking options in the Celtic squad. Having said that, Kyogo Furuhashi must get the nod over Giorgos Giakoumakis as the ‘number 9’, also the work rate of Daizen Maeda and the creative spark of Filipe Jota should see them featuring from the flanks ahead of Sead Haksabanovic, Liel Abada and James Forrest.