It’s a thankless task trying to second guess Ange Postecoglou’s team selections so we were chuffed to get both the team and the subs totally correct last weekend for the Scottish Cup quarter final at Tynecastle, which Celtic won 3-0.
With Ange’s squad update from his media conference yesterday we hopefully will get quite close with today’s Predicted Team but we’d certainly not put money on getting it spot on two weeks in a row!
Celtic go into the final game before the International break with a few injury concerns. Carl Starfelt’s hip flexor flared up during the warm-up at Tynecastle but the big Swede was able to put in a composed 45 minutes before being substituted as not to aggravate the injury. The Sweden manager Janne Andersson has included Starfelt in his squad for their Euro Qualifiers against Belgium and Azerbaijan after first checking on the central defender’s fitness situation with Celtic and Ange yesterday let slip that Starfelt will play today – or did he?
There’s a strong argument for playing Yuki Kobayashi, the left sided defender who arrived in January as Ange’s latest J-League signing along with Tomoki Iwata – who we know will not be involved today. Kobayashi looked like an outstanding addition last weekend in the pressure-pot atmosphere at Tynecastle but he’ll probably start on the bench.
Ange yesterday told us that both Tomoki Iwata and Aaron Mooy will miss out today as will James Forrest who should be back on the other side of the international break. And we also know that Ange is happy to start both Greg Taylor and Cameron Carter-Vickers today despite both apparently carrying some kind of injury problem that saw both left out of their respective international squads.
And Daizen Maeda who missed out on the Scottish Cup tie a week ago after getting injured scoring against Hearts at Celtic Park a few days earlier is also fully fit and good to go.
So we’d expect Joe Hart to be in goals and the regular back four to be these Bhoys…
With Mooy missing Matt O’Riley should start alongside the captain Callum McGregor and the outstanding talent that is Reo Hatate.
Jota on the right wing, Kyogo through the middle and Daizen Maeda ‘doing his best’ on the left.
On the bench we should have Scott Bain, Yuki Kobayashi, Stephen Welsh, Alexandro Bernabei, Anthony Ralston, David Turnbull, Sead Hakšabanović, Liel Abada and Oh.
So our predicted starting eleven is as follows….
Predicted XI: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; McGregor, Hatate, O’Riley; Jota, Kyogo, Maeda.
We will of course post the official team news when we get it around 1.45pm. Enjoy the game!