Predicted XI as Brendan Rodgers weighs up Callum McGregor poser

Celtic face Rangers this afternoon as Brendan Rodgers takes his team to Ibrox for a top-of-the-table clash. The Scottish Champions are one point clear of the hosts, who have a game in hand, adding title significance to the latest Glasgow Derby.

Rodgers has a full complement of players to choose from for the first time in this fixture. Callum McGregor has battled his way back from a calf strain to get himself into contention for the game whilst Luis Palma has also recovered from a calf injury to return to training. The skipper was part of the squad that departed Celtic Park for the team hotel yesterday evening and his inclusion is a major headache for the manager.

Joe Hart was brilliant in the win back in September, keeping a clean sheet and making a number of crucial saves. The Englishman will be hoping to make his mark when called upon in his final visit to Ibrox.

At the back, Celtic will be able to start Cameron Carter-Vickers for the first time in this fixture since the Scottish Cup Semi Final win of last season. The USA Internationalist missed the first meeting through knee surgery before missing the win at Celtic Park in December with a hamstring injury. CCV will be joined by Liam Scales in the central pairing with Greg Taylor and Alistair Johnston in the fullback berths.

Rangers v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Ibrox Stadium Celtic s Callum McGregor and Joe Hart celebrate the win after the cinch Premiership match at the Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. Picture date: Sunday September 3, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

Reo Hatate started in the win against Livi alongside Matt O’Riley with Tomoki Iwata in the holding role. The manager will need to decide whether to continue with this trio or whether to bring the returning Celtic skipper into the side. Rodgers’ comments certainly seemed to suggest that he was reluctant to take a chance on the Scotland Internationalist.

Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates after scoring during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between theRangers and Celtic at Ibrox on September 03, 2023. Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Kyogo has seven goals in six starts against Rangers and the talisman will likely start, despite Adam Idah having impressed since joining from Norwich. The Irishman will need to be ready to come off the bench and play an impact. Expect Daizen Maeda to start on the left with the task of frustrating and challenging James Tavernier. On the right flank, Nicolas Kühn is expected to start.

Predicted XI: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; Iwata, O’Riley, Hatate; Kühn, Kyogo, Maeda.

Rodgers will also be keen to use his bench with attacking options with Yang, James Forrest and Adam Idah all likely to be involved offering something. If CalMac does start then you would imagine he would be managed depending on the game. Another midfielder that can play a part on Derby Day is Paulo Bernardo. The Portuguese midfielder scored in the game in December and reminded us of his quality with a goal against Livingston last weekend.

The manager will have picked his team and it will be communicated with us in a couple of hours time.

Come on Celtic!

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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