Celtic travel down to East Ayrshire tomorrow morning to take on Kilmarnock in the last away Scottish Premiership match before the split. Last weekend’s 3-2 win over theRangers at Celtic Park continued an incredible run of form for Ange Postecoglou’s side who are now on the verge of retaining the title they won last season, to add to winning the League Cup for a second successive season and of course there’s the matter of the Scottish Cup semi-final later this month against theRangers at Hampden.
That though is not on Ange Postecoglou’s mind and the Celtic manager knows that his players will be totally focused on picking up the three points at Rugby Park, against a Kilmarnock side who have been hard to beat this season on their own artificial park.
Celtic will be without Reo Hatate, Liel Abada, James Forrest and Anthony Ralston. All four missed the Glasgow Derby last week and regardless of fitness progress made this week, Ange Postecoglou has decided that it would be too risky throwing any of these returning stars into tomorrow’s match give the difficult surface and of course with an eye to what is to come over the next few weeks.
On the plus side everyone involved in last Saturday’s win over theRangers came through that one unscathed and will be available tomorrow where the Celtic manager is likely to make one or two changes to his starting eleven.
Joe Hart will play and the back four could see one change from last week with Alexandro Bernabei possibly starting ahead of Greg Taylor who might benefit from the rest. Alistair Johnston will play and the central defence will be manned by Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt.
In the middle of the park Matt O’Riley did more than enough last week to merit a start and he’ll possibly play alongside the captain Callum McGregor as the two attacking midfielders with Tomoki Iwata playing the holding role.
There’s an argument for playing Oh as the striker, especially as his national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann will be at the game, so the South Korean will be desperate to play well and protecting Kyogo from mishap on that surface is another factor worthy of note. On the wings Sead Hakšabanović and Jota could get the nod.
Subs likely to be Bain, Taylor, Kobayashi, Welsh, Mooy, Turnbull, Kyogo, Maeda and Vata.
Predicted XI: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Bernabei; Iwata, McGregor (C), O’Riley; Jota, Oh and Hakšabanović.
David Dickinson has the whistle and he is assisted by Craig Ferguson and John McCrossan. The fourth official is Duncan Williams while Alan Muir heads up the VAR operation assisted by Gary Hiland.
It’s another early start for the away support with the Kilmarnock v Celtic match at Rugby Park kicking off at 12 noon (Celtic Park Time). Traffic heading down the A77 will be light though as the Celtic support will be accommodated in just one stand behind the goal rather than at both ends of the stadium, so expect plenty of empty seats in full view for the Sky Sports cameras.
Where to Watch
Celtic fans not at the game can enjoy the action on Sky Sports and for those outside of Britain and Ireland, live on Celtic TV.
Celtic TV subscribers in Britain & Ireland can enjoy live audio commentary of the match, plus a full match replay from 10pm, while those overseas can watch every kick of the ball LIVE on the channel of the champions.
📺 @CelticTV subscribers in the UK & Ireland can enjoy live audio commentary of the #cinchPrem match, plus a full match replay from 10pm, while those overseas can watch every kick of the ball LIVE on the channel of the champions.#KILCEL | #COYBIG 🍀
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 15, 2023