Kris Commons has predicted that Neil Lennon will partner Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard together for Celtic’s trip to Ibrox on Saturday, he also has backed Scott Brown to start the game – despite the form of Ismaila Soro in the centre of the park. The former Celtic midfielder told his Daily Mail column that the manager will need to make some big calls ahead of the must-win fixture at the home of Steven Gerrard’s side.
“I fully expect Edouard and Griffiths to play together up front. So the real question is how Celtic will shape up defensively. More specifically, how will the rest of the team be put together in order to accommodate two strikers?
“Celtic tried the 3-5-2 earlier in the season without really having any great success. I feel it’s a system which, a lot of the time, tries to mask the shortcomings of the three centre-backs.
“If the manager doesn’t quite fancy any of them as a pairing, it just provides that little bit of extra cover to have an extra body in there. I don’t see Lennon going back to that. I expect he will stick with the 4-4-2 midfield diamond that we have seen over the past couple of games. The team has looked nice and balanced.”
Commons also believes that the midfield battle will be key to determine who wins the game, with Rangers having won the battle in the middle of the park in the last two encounters and subsequently taken maximum points.
Soro, Turnbull and Griffiths have all given Celtic a much needed shot in the arm, along with Kris Ajer operating at right back. However, Commons reckons that Lennon will partner Ajer with Christopher Jullien at the centre of the Celtic defence but the big surprise will be Lennon deciding to utilise his captain Scott Brown in the must-win clash.
“I expect Kris Ajer will be partnered in central defence by Christopher Jullien, if he’s fit, with Shane Duffy being the one to miss out.
“I can’t envisage Celtic going to Ibrox for the biggest game of the season without Scott Brown in the team, so I expect the skipper to come back in and anchor the midfield. So you’ll then have David Turnbull and Callum McGregor, with either Ryan Christie or Ismaila Soro battling for the final place in midfield. I expect Christie will get the nod.
“The midfield battle will be absolutely vital because that’s the one area above all others where Rangers have absolutely bossed it over the past few Old Firm games. Celtic didn’t lay a glove on them when the teams met at Parkhead back in October. If that happens again, it will kill the dream of ten in a row once and for all.
It is a must win for Celtic and whoever the manager decides to play then they will need to be at their absolute best to compete in every duel and make sure that we come away with three points.