Despite flying in the Premiership, the misery continues for Celtic in the Champions League following a 2-1 home defeat against Lazio. An injury-time winner from Pedro Rodriguez silenced the Parkhead crowd. But the Hoops should find it comfortable when they host Kilmarnock on Saturday afternoon for their upcoming domestic encounter.
Killie stunned the Celts earlier this season as they knocked the defending champions out of the League Cup competition. Derek McInnes has done a lot of good work since last year’s promotion but, at the same time, must find a rhythm in the Premiership to avoid a relegation battle towards the closure of this 2023-24 campaign. It remains to be seen whether the East Ayrshire side script another upset with a mettlesome performance at Celtic Park.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Kilmarnock
Joe Hart should be back in goal after serving his one-game suspension. Brendan Rodgers banks on the 36-year-old as the Bhoys ‘number 1’, and therefore, would give him the nod over Scott Bain even though the latter deputized the Englishman expertly against Motherwell.
Alistair Johnston has cemented his place down the right ahead of Anthony Ralston. It’s a sigh of relief for Rodgers as he now has Cameron Carter-Vickers back in action. The USMNT international is expected to start in the heart of the backline alongside Liam Scales. Both Nat Phillips and Gustaf Lagerbielke might slip down the pecking order, whereas Greg Taylor could be rested in favour of Alexandro Bernabei for this Killie fixture.
Skipper Callum McGregor would show his composure and consistency while orchestrating the tempo from his preferred deep-lying midfield role. His ability to convert defence into attack allows the ‘number 8s’ to operate in the advanced areas of the pitch. Reo Hatate must exhibit his creative spark in and around the attacking third, also, the mastery of Matt O’Riley offers them more flexibility in the middle of the park. The likes of David Turnbull, Paulo Bernando, Odin Thiago Holm and Tomoki Iwata might get involved as second-half substitutes.
Kyogo Furuhashi grabbed a goal against Lazio to earn Celtic an early lead. The Japanese hitman must lead the line, however, injuries to Liel Abada and Marco Tilio could see Daizen Maeda slotting in down the right. Luis Palma has impressed from the left and the gaffer could hand the Honduran a starting status ahead of Hyun-jun Yang and James Forrest.