Ahead of a big few days for the club, Celtic should spare some first-team regulars tonight against Suduva.
The Hoops go into the second leg of their Europa League clash tonight needing a win over the Lithuanians to qualify. Progression would see Celtic head into the group stages of European competition for the seventh consecutive season.
A 0-0 draw would also be enough after Olivier Ntcham’s goal sealed a 1-1 scoreline away from home last week.
But Brendan Rodgers could do himself a favour and save some of his first-team regulars for Sunday’s Glasgow derby.
Celtic face Rangers at Celtic Park in one of the most highly-anticipated clashes between the pair in years. With Rangers playing a second-leg tie in Russia against FC Ufa, Celtic can use that to their advantage.
The likes of Odsonne Edouard, Moussa Dembele (here’s hoping), Ntcham, Mikael Lustig, and Kieran Tierney don’t need to be risked tonight. Celtic should have more than enough in the artillery to see off Suduva with ease regardless.
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Looking ahead to Sunday, Rangers carry more threat than the Lithuanians. Looking to profit upon any slackness, particularly defensively, Steven Gerrard’s men look likely to punish Celtic this season.
Rodgers’ men cannot defend so sloppily against the Ibrox side this season. Kyle Lafferty has now scored in his last four meetings against Celtic, so they now have good pedigree.
The Celtic manager has to use this game and situation to his advantage tonight. A 6000 mile-round trip for Rangers will give them just two days to prepare for Sunday.
For the Parkhead side, they can sit back and relax tonight knowing Suduva don’t have it in them to win this one. Instead, the Hoops can rest several key men who’ll start on Sunday, whilst still sweeping past the Lithuanians.
Poor results in the past after coming off the back of Europa League games has to be taken into consideration. Just because Celtic are at Parkhead tonight, it doesn’t mean they’ll be fully fresh on Sunday.
Rodgers can do himself and the team a real favour tonight and make sure several are well-rested for the weekend.