CELTIC face Latvian side Riga in the Europa League Third Qualifying Round tonight as Neil Lennon’s side look to seal their place in the play-off round next week. Should Celtic beat Riga, they will face either Sarajevo or Budućnost Podgorica in the Europa League Play-off.
In goals, Vasilis Barkas is expected to start. The Greek goalie has had a quiet start to life in Glasgow but his performance versus Ross County proved that he can be relied upon when needed.
The manager may be unsure whether to go with a 4-2-3-1 or his preferred 3-5-2. It is likely given the unknown nature of a European trip away, especially in a one-legged affair, the manager will likely be more cautious and play with four at the back. With that in mind, Shane Duffy will partner Kris Ajer with Christopher Jullien nursing a minor back injury. At left back, Greg Taylor will likely start with either Hatem Abd Elhamed or Jeremie Frimpong. The Israeli will likely get the nod as Lennon may prefer his defensive attributes as opposed to Frimpong’s blistering pace.
In the midfield, Callum McGregor and Scott Brown are nailed onto start. Ryan Christie has also been in impressive form meaning he will likely start ahead of Olivier Ntcham.
In attack, Lennon will likely deploy Moi Elyounoussi, Odsonne Edouard and James Forrest as his attacking front three. Despite the Frenchman being on the bench at the weekend, Neil Lennon revealed that he was ‘itching to play’ ahead of tonight’s game.
4-2-3-1 is a more conservative decision should the manager make it, the 3-5-2 is probably our best position but it does leave us open to counterattacks, especially against an unknown quantity like Riga.
We will need to see what the team line up is later on but this is our predicted XI: