Celtic face St Mirren this afternoon in their first game of 2024 and the final game before the winter break. The Scottish Champions beat Rangers 2-1 in the Glasgow Derby on Saturday thanks to goals from Paulo Bernardo and Kyogo and now, Brendan Rodgers will look to record three points at a hazardous away venue.
Stephen Robinson’s Saints won 3-0 at Pittodrie over the weekend and will pose a significant challenge, one that Celtic will require to overcome as they look to go on the winter break on a high.
It is expected that Brendan will make just one change from the Glasgow Derby victory with Stephen Welsh dropping out for Maik Nawrocki. Reo Hatate and Liel Abada will likely get themselves on the pitch. The latter made his return against Rangers and will be hoping that he can get back up and running ahead, especially given the proximity of the winter break. However, it is expected that the game has come too soon.
Joe Hart will start in goals. However, Celtic go into the game without Welsh, who injured his shoulder in the first half against theRangers. The Scottish defender rushed across to atone for a poor backpass from Alistair Johnston and slid in to tackle Cyriel Dessers, who failed to score.
Welsh joins Cameron Carter-Vickers on the treatment table, who injured his hamstring in the Boxing Day win at Dens Park. Expect Nawrocki to come in alongside Liam Scales at centre-back as the Polish defender did on Saturday, with Gustaf Lagerbielke deputising. Greg Taylor and Alistair Johnston will likely continue at full-back.
In midfield, you would expect the Celtic manager to continue with an unchanged trio of Paulo Bernardo, Matt O’Riley and skipper Callum McGregor, who was the best player on the park against Rangers.
In attack, match-winner Kyogo will start through the middle with Luis Palma and Daizen Maeda on the flanks.
Predicted XI: Hart; Johnston, Nawrocki, Scales, Taylor; McGregor, O’Riley, Bernardo; Maeda, Kyogo, Palma.
The SFA have confirmed that David Munro will referee the clash. Munro will be assisted by Alan Mulvanny and Craig Ferguson with Craig Napier acting as Fourth Official. Meanwhile, at Clydesdale House, Steven McLean is on VAR duties assisted by Dougie Potter. Munro has refereed Celtic on two occasions this season – the 3-0 win away to Ross County as well as the 2-1 defeat to Kilmarnock this month.
Kick Off Time
The game kicks off at 5pm (Celtic Park Time).
Where to Watch
The game will be shown on Sky Sports Football with coverage starting at 4pm.
Celtic TV subscribers outside Britain and Ireland will be able to watch the game on the club’s streaming platform.
🟢 Our first game of 2024! ⚪
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) January 2, 2024