Celtic face Feyenoord this evening as the curtain is raised on the UEFA Champions League Group Stages. After winning the league last season, Celtic earned automatic qualification to the Group Stages whilst our neighbours across the city had to attempt (unsuccessfully) to navigate the qualifiers. Now, Brendan Rodgers’ team will be hoping to make their mark in Europe after months of anticipation about the return to face Europe’s elite.
Celtic go into the game without Liel Abada (injured), Cameron Carter-Vickers (injury) Maik Nawrocki (injured and not registered) and Stephen Welsh (injured), Mikey Johnston (returning from injury), Marco Tilio (not registered). There is also a lingering doubt regarding Nat Phillips, who started against Dundee on Saturday. The Liverpool loaned rolled his ankle and was replaced by Gustaf Lagerbielke, who impressed.
In goals, Joe Hart will start. The Englishman faced the media yesterday with the manager and said that he believes that the group of players are capable of competing at this level. The 36-year-old will be keen to continue his fine form.
In defence, expect Alistair Johnston and Greg Taylor to occupy the full-back berths. The central pairing will likely consist of Lagerbielke and Liam Scales meaning that the back four will be comprised of the same players that started in the win at Ibrox.
In midfield, Callum McGregor will be joined by Matt O’Riley with the third space likely occupied by Reo Hatate. This would mean that David Turnbull drops to the bench. Hatate, 25, showed in his second half cameo what he is all about and the manager will want to rely upon both his defensive attributes as well as his attacking prowess.
In attack, Kyogo will start through the middle. Expect Daizen Maeda to occupy the left and provide his flawless work-rate to provide cover going backwards. On the right, Brendan will have to pick between Luis Palma or Yang. The former showed promise when he came on against Dundee and it would be interesting to see whether he makes his full debut.
Predicted XI: Hart; Taylor, Scales, Lagerbielke, Johnston; O’Riley, McGregor, Hatate; Maeda, Kyogo, Palma.
The referee, Irfan Peljto, his linesmen – Senad Ibrisimbegović & Davor Beljo – and Fourth Official Miloš Gigovic all hail from Bosnia and Herzegovina. On VAR duties, we have Ivan Bebek (Croatia) and Alper Ulusoy (Turkey).
The game kicks off at 8pm (Celtic Park Time).
Where to Watch
The game from Rotterdam will be shown on TNT Sports 1 with coverage beginning at 7:45pm following Newcastle United’s game against AC Milan.