After an array of dreadful European nights, Celtic finally showed some grit and resilience on Wednesday night when they hosted Atletico Madrid at Parkhead. The game finished all square, but the Hoops’ fierce fight is a welcome boost ahead of travelling to Easter Road for their upcoming Premiership fixture against Hibernian.
Hibs, struggling at the wrong end of the league standings, suffered a thumping 4-0 defeat against Rangers. They must regroup themselves before Saturday afternoon and script a turnaround having failed to win a game in October. Celtic are still unbeaten in the Premiership and a win would see them stretching their lead to ten points over their Old Firm rivals for the time being.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Hibernian
Despite conceding twice, Joe Hart had an impressive outing against the Rojiblancos. His experience between the sticks helps the Hoops maintain composure and discipline in the defensive third. He must retain his ‘number 1’ status across competitions.
The return of Cameron Carter-Vickers has restored stability in deep defence. Liam Scales, a revelation so far this season, is expected to retain his starting status ahead of Nat Phillips and Gustaf Lagerbielke. Fullback duo Alistair Johnston and Greg Taylor are tipped to get the nod over Anthony Ralston and Alexandro Bernabei. Meanwhile, Liam Scales, Maik Nawrocki and Yuki Kobayashi remain sidelined with their respective fitness woes.
Reo Hatate sustained a fresh injury blow against Atletico Madrid. He is now uncertain for the weekend encounter, but his absence would hand David Turnbull an opportunity to shine in the middle of the park. It is to be seen whether the gaffer prefers the Scotsman as a ‘number 8’ or deploys Paulo Bernardo who replaced the Japanese ace early into their Champions League contest. Matt O’Riley is irreplaceable for his all-round ability, and so is skipper Callum McGregor who has been immense deep down the midfield with his vision, technicality and creative spark. The likes of Tomoki Iwata and Odin Thiago Holm could be involved as second-half substitutes.
Summer signing Luis Palma has been exquisite so far with his finesse and flair from the left-hand flank. Versatile Daizen Maeda has slotted in expertly down the right, but the ‘number 9’ role belongs to Kyogo Furuhashi who once again showcased his majestic poaching trait against Diego Simeone’s formidable force. Liel Abada is yet to recover from his thigh injury, but the Northern Irish boss has options in James Forrest, Yang Hyun-Jun and Oh Hyeon-gyu to slot in down the wide.