Kilmarnock v Celtic: Team News, Manager’s View and Where to Watch

Celtic travel to Rugby Park this evening to face Kilmarnock knowing that a draw will be enough to win the league title. After beating theRangers on Saturday, Brendan Rodgers’ side opened up a six point gap over their rivals with two games remaining. With theRangers winning against Dundee on Tuesday, Callum McGregor and the team have the chance to win the title on the pitch and will be keen to get all three points.

Celtic have enjoyed some notable title winning days at Rugby Park and tonight looks set to be another of those very special occasions. A draw will be enough but Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has stated that he wants to sprit to the finish in the three last remaining games, tonight to win the league, followed by a win on Trophy Day on Saturday against St Mirren and finally securing the double by winning the Scottish Cup final a week on Saturday, the 25th May…

Celtic Team News

Brendan Rodgers yesterday confirmed that he only has a slight worry regarding Yang, who has a foot knock but should make the squad. Alistair Johnston was lucky to avoid serious injury with that red card tackle in the Glasgow Derby by John Lundstram.

Celtic v Motherwell – Brendan Rodgers throws the ball to Anthony Ralston during the Premiership match at Celtic Park on Saturday November 25, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

There may be a temptation to take no chances with Johnston this evening and give Anthony Ralston a start. The Scotland international defender was excellent at the weekend after replacing the Canadian but it’s more likely that Johnston will start with Ralston getting half an hour in the second half.

Celtic Manager’s View 

“We had a very, very good win at the weekend. It was a great day for the team and for the club, and that’s our job. We’re here to serve the supporters and the club, and it’s always a great day when you can beat one of your main rivals. It was a very important and significant win for us, and it puts us in a really good place,” Brendan Rodgers told the media yesterday afternoon at his media conference at Lennoxtown that was attended by The Celtic Star.

“So our preparation right the way through, the standards that the players have set, has never wavered, even when it has been a challenge, but they get their rewards now and, of course, as I said after the weekend, we’re nearly there and we’ve got an exciting three games to finish the season strong,” the Celtic manager added.

“I’m looking forward to the game. It’ll be a tough game for us. Derek has done a fantastic job with Kilmarnock. We haven’t been great there in the two games but we’ve had that half when we were comfortable in the game, and then we conceded a couple of poor goals and ended up losing 2-1,” Brendan recalled.

“But we’re ready for a tough game against a team that’s very effective and very well-coached, very well-organised and they’ve got experienced players, so we have to be ready for the duels but we also have to be ready to play our football, and that’s what we’ve been preparing for.

“Our only focus is on ourselves, so our focus is on preparing for the game tomorrow and, outwith that, we can’t control anything else.”

Celtic Player’s View 

Alistair Johnston also spoke to the media at Lennoxtown yesterday, including The Celtic Star, as the Celtic defender looked forward to this evening’s game at Rugby Park.

“It’s a difficult place for us to go to. We know that it hasn’t been an easy place results-wise, or performance-wise for us this year. So we know that we’re going to have to take care of business, and go there and put in a really good performance, but, at the same time, we’re riding pretty high.

Alistair Johnston at the final whistle Aberdeen v Celtic, Scottish Premiership,, Pittodrie.  3 Feb 2024. Photo Mark Runnacles/Shutterstock

“Our morale is good, we know that we’re at the business end of the season now. Only two to go in the league, so we’re almost at that finish line. It’s just about getting over it, and ideally we’d love to do that in midweek.”

On Kilmarnock he said: “They’re a really well-coached team, well-drilled and you can see they’ve been flying high in the table. That goes to show how well they’ve played this year. We know it’s not an easy place to play.

“Of course the astroturf plays a part, but that sort of takes away from how good the team are. They probably lose a bit of credit because of that. We know they’re going to come out and they’ll be well-drilled and physical, and we just really need to be on it right from the get-go.

“I think that if we come out strong, impose ourselves and not let the first half just slip away, I think we’ll put ourselves in a really good situation. They are one of those teams that if you let them hang around, they’re a team that can punish you. They’ve got good wing-play and they’ve got finishers that are more than comfortable in the box.

“We’ve got to be aware of that and we’re well-drilled, but at the same time we have had some frustrating results there and we want to make amends for that.”

Predicted Celtic Team

Brendan Rodgers is likely to name the same starting XI that beat theRangers on Saturday afternoon to set up this evening’s opportunity to secure a 54th title (not out)) for Celtic Football Club.

Predicted Celtic XI: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; McGregor (c), O’Riley, Hatate; Forrest, Kyogo, Maeda.

Subs: Bain, Palma, Idah, Kuhn, Nawrocki, Tomoki, Bernardo, Ralston, Welsh

Match Officials

Hearts v Celtic – Greg Taylor and Cameron Carter-Vickers speak with match referee Don Robertson after he awards a penalty to Hearts during the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle Park, Saturday March 2, 2024. Photo Andrew Milligan

Don Robertson has been appointed as the referee for the match. Robertson will be assisted by Graeme Stewart and Frank Connor with Euan Anderson acting as Fourth Official. Meanwhile, at Clydesdale House, Greg Aitken is on VAR with Dougie Potter assisting.

Kick Off Time

The game at The BBSP Stadium Rugby Park kicks off slightly earlier than usual with proceedings beginning at 7:30pm.

Where to Watch

As Kilmarnock decided to opt for empty seats in their own end rather than facilitating more Celtic away fans, supporters will have to watch the game on the TV. The game will be on Sky Sports Football with coverage starting at 7pm. Celtic TV subscribers outside Britain and Ireland will be able to watch on the club’s streaming service.

Please note that Sky subscribers can stream the match via Sky Go and it  can also be live streamed via Now TV with a subscription. TV highlights will be shown on BBC One Scotland at 10.40pm this evening and BBC Radio Scotland will provide live audio coverage.

Remember too Celtic FC Women are playing Hearts in Edinburgh looking to move a step closer to their first ever title. They need to beat Hearts tonight then Hibs on Sunday at Celtic Park. This evening’s game kicks off at 6pm and is live on BBC Alba so if you’re not going to Rugby Park, why not tune in?

Have a look at Celticshorts.com – for short, sharp Celtic news and commentary from the makers of The Celtic Star! We think you’ve like it! HH

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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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