Nawrocki or Lagerbielke, Holm plus Yang – Celtic’s rotation options against Aberdeen

Where could Celtic rotate against Aberdeen today?

After respective European trips to Spain and Greece, Celtic welcome Aberdeen to Celtic Park this afternoon. A disappointing night in Madrid, worsened by the news Daizen Maeda will be out for six weeks, Brendan Rodgers will be looking to bounce back with a victory and performance to lift the dispirited mood among the Celtic fanbase.

Mario Hermoso and Liam Scales fight for the ball during the UEFA Champions League  match between Celtic and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park on October 25, 2023.  (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

After Celtic’s previous Champions League game, Rodgers named an unchanged side for the weekend league game against Hibernian. His side slumped to a 0-0 draw at Easter Road, in a game which had a European hangover etched all over it.

Although key players such as Luis Palma and Matt O’Riley played just 46 minutes on Tuesday night, there are other positions which Rodgers could look to rotate in, with a view to giving certain players an opportunity to impress. Here are a just a few of the options open to the Celtic manager this afternoon.

Lagerbielke/Nawrocki for Scales

20th August 2023; Rugby Park, Kilmarnock versus Celtic; Liam Scales of Celtic, Gustaf Lagerbielke of Celtic and Maik Nawrocki of Celtic

Liam Scales has been ever present at centre half for Celtic this season and has proved much of the fanbase wrong in doing so. Such stellar form has also earned him a call up to the Irish national team on the last two occasions.

Amid the blossoming centre half partnership of Cameron Carter Vickers and Liam Scales, Gustaf Lagerbielke has seen his playing time reduced significantly. The Swedish international was nominated for Swedish Allsvenskan Player of the Year last week and has shown promise in his early performances in a Celtic shirt.

The return from of injury of Maik Nawrocki could also tempt Rodgers to give either of the pair a chance tomorrow afternoon.

A start for Holm

ROTTERDAM, 19Ã09-2023, Stadium Feijenoord / De Kuip , Champions League , season 2023 / 2024, Feyenoord – Celtic , Odin Thiago Holm

One of the shining lights of an otherwise underwhelming summer transfer window for Celtic, Odin Thiago Holm has shown significant quality in the limited gametime he has seen thus far in a hoops shirt.

His clever assist for Oh in Celtic’s winner against St Mirren two weeks ago is a prime example of the quality he possesses in the final third. Matt O’Riley played just 46 minutes in Madrid, meaning he will likely start. Rodgers’s reluctance to rest Callum McGregor means it will most likely have to be Bernardo who Holm comes in for.

The Portuguese u21 international cannot be faulted for his performances in Glasgow’s East End so far, with his high value defensive work a highlight of his Celtic career to date. However, Holm has shown more willingness to play through the lines and pull off technically difficult passes, a trait that will be useful against Barry Robson’s defensive Aberdeen side.

Who replaces Maeda?

Celtic FC v Athletic Club –  Hyun-Jun Yang during the pre-season friendly match at Celtic Park on August 1, 2023, Photo Ricardo Larreina

Celtic have had a certain degree of injury issues on the wings so far this season. Long term injuries to Liel Abada and Marco Tilio, the latter who is now back training, has resulted in a lack of quality options out wide for Brendan Rodgers this season.

James Forrest and Yang Hyun-Jun have seen most of their playing time off the bench, with exciting young talent Rocco Vata deemed not good enough to make match-day squads.

Yang has looked promising this season, and has shown himself as one of the only wingers at the club willing to consistently take on his man. Although the 21-year-old has struggled with consistency this season, his positive, direct dribbling will prove useful against Aberdeen’s low block tomorrow.

With Maeda out injured for the next month and a half, the South Korean international will be looking to garner more game-time in the coming weeks and solidify himself in Rodgers starting eleven.

James French

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