Celtic v Atletico Madrid: Predicted XI with Rodgers dealt Iwata poser

Celtic are in the UEFA Champions League action this evening as Europe’s premier competition comes to Glasgow. The Scottish Champions are yet to get up and running in the group and currently sit bottom with no wins from their opening two games. Tonight, Brendan Rodgers’ side faces arguably the toughest team in the draw, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

Despite being winless in five away UCL games, Celtic have their own troubling Champions League record with no home wins in the competition since 2013. Rodgers and his players will be keen to rectify that this evening.

After the win at the weekend, the manager will need to decide whether to stick with the same team that won emphatically against Hearts at Tynecastle or adapt the team to suit his opponents. That could see Tomoki Iwata come into the squad as the defensive midfielder could offer another option for Rodgers defensively against the Spaniards, who will likely hit on the counter.

Joe Hart will start in between the sticks. The Englishman didn’t have a lot to do on the last UCL matchday and will have been disappointed at losing two goals. The rumour is that he is in contract talks with Celtic and an impressive display tonight will aid him in those discussions.

In defence, expect the manager to continue with the back four that started the game at Tynecastle. Cameron Carter-Vickers in beside Liam Scales with Greg Taylor and Alistair Johnston on the flanks. Scales has been brilliant since coming in and has established himself as part of the team.

In midfield, Callum McGregor will skipper the side and he will likely be joined by Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley. As mentioned, there is an argument that the manager could be considering Iwata, who scored a lovely goal at the weekend. The J-League Player of the Year last season could offer a more defensive option than his compatriot, Hatate but as we are expected to have more of the ball, you would anticipate that Reo would get the nod from the off.

In attack, Kyogo will lead the line. The Japanese hitman scored his 60th goal for Celtic at the weekend will be keen to put the Spaniards to the sword and will be supported in the wide areas by Luis Palma and Daizen Maeda.

Predicted XI: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; McGregor, O’Riley, Hatate; Palma, Kyogo, Maeda.

About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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