Football

Predicting the Celtic XI to Face Rangers at Celtic Park on Sunday

Predicting the Celtic XI to Face Rangers at Celtic Park on Sunday

Celtic welcome Rangers to Celtic Park on Sunday hoping to make up for their 1-0 defeat in this fixture in December.

The Hoops are 10 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership and every point gained now takes them closer to what is likely to be their eighth title in a row.

But it’s a historic derby that nobody wants to lose – and Rangers will likely believe they can get the victory that could breathe life into their run-in.

It’s Neil Lennon’s first game against Rangers since replacing Brendan Rodgers as caretaker manager.

And he has some big decisions to make on his starting XI.

Here’s what we predict that will be on Sunday:

Why Lustig?

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Mikael Lustig has returned to the Celtic team since Lennon replaced Rodgers – the Northern Irish manager showing a clear trust in the Swede. Jeremy Toljan hasn’t been convincing since joining Celtic from Borussia Dortmund in January and we reckon Lennon will go with the more reliable Lustig at right back. This does depend on Lustig being fit after appearing to pick up an injury while away on international duty.

Why Boyata and Ajer?

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Boyata appears to be fit after taking some time out through injury, appearing in Belgium’s win over Russia last week before leaving the national team squad due to personal issues. There’s no suggestion those personal issues will keep him out of Sunday’s game so he should return to the team to partner Kristoffer Ajer at centre back. Filip Benkovic will have to settle for a spot on the bench.

Why Forrest at No10?

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Expect to see more of this under Lennon. At Easter Road, with Celtic struggling to break down a resolute Hibees, Lennon tinkered with his front three and ushered Forrest inside to play behind the striker. It led to his goal opening the scoring, led to Oliver Burke looking more productive on the right and Odsonne Edouard looking more natural up front. Significantly, with Tom Rogic, Ryan Christie and Olivier Ntcham all short on fitness, Lennon will need to get inventive with his number 10.

Why Burke?

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If there’s a position Lennon and Celtic should look to expose it could be at left back for Rangers. Borna Barisic has yet to show his best form under Steven Gerrard and Andy Halliday isn’t a left back, despite his able deputising for a lot of this season. With Burke, Celtic have the fastest player in the league and he’s looked a real handful when played in his natural position out right.

Don’t agree? What would be your starting XI?

Let us know in the comments below..

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