Celtic survived an early scare on Sunday afternoon and scored five past St Mirren in the second half to restore their nine-point cushion at the top of the Premiership standings. But they must prepare for another tricky test on Wednesday night, this time against Hearts at Celtic Park.
Despite being third in the league table, the Jambos lost on both occasions when these two sides locked horns earlier this campaign. It was a routine 2-0 win in the previous Parkhead tie, however, the Bhoys grabbed an edgy 4-3 victory in a seven-goal thriller at Tynecastle. Although they have the home advantage this midweek, Robbie Neilson’s men would look to disrupt the Hoops’ momentum either in the league or the upcoming Scottish Cup clash on Saturday lunchtime.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Hearts
Joe Hart must be replaced in the long run, but he remains the Celts’ ‘number 1’ for the time being ahead of Benjamin Siegrist, Scott Bain and Conor Hazard.
Fit-again Anthony Ralston is struggling to regain his lost status down the right. Winter signing Alistair Johnston is enjoying his minutes, also, the presence of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt offers them strength, stability and composure in the heart of the backline. Left fullback Greg Taylor has been majestic since returning from his injury. The Scotsman’s flying form has restricted Alexandro Bernabei’s gametime in the defensive third. Stephen Welsh and Yuki Kobayashi have hardly been involved in recent weeks. They must stay patient and wait for their opportunities.
After a slow start to life in Glasgow, Aaron Mooy has been a driving force in the middle of the park. He is sometimes unplayable with his vision, box-to-box runs and creativity in and around the attacking third. Moreover, the pace, flair and energy of Reo Hatate help them dominate the midfield game week in week out. Skipper Callum McGregor operates as the orchestrator, thanks to his ability to pull the strings as a deep-lying playmaker. Matt O’Riley, David Turnbull and Tomoki Iwata could get involved in the second half.
Kyogo Furuhashi remains irreplaceable for his game-reading and poaching traits in and around the opponents’ box. Liel Abada deserves a start following a stellar cameo against the Buddies. Filipe Jota might retain his first-team status but should shift to the left to make way for the Israeli youngster. Daizen Maeda, James Forrest, Sead Haksabanovic and Oh Hyeon-gyu are also there to make an impact as ‘super subs’.