Ange set to make 9 changes; Celtic Predicted XI for derby

By John McGinley

September 3, 2022

Celtic host Rangers in the Scottish Premiership today knowing a victory will see the team push five points clear of the Ibrox side at the top of the table.

It’s not going to be an easy game despite the Bhoys’ electric start to the season. Rangers are well-equipped to challenge attacking sides away from home, and only a top performance from Ange Postecoglou’s outfit will get the job done.

Today’s team selection is crucial, too, and while the manager could be minded to throw a few curveballs, here’s our go at predicting the derby XI…

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Joe Hart suffered a head knock and required stitches during last week’s huge win over Dundee United and subsequently sat out the trip to Ross County. However, you’d fancy him to come back into the team today ahead of Ben Siegrist given his experience and ability to pull of stunning saves if needed.

For me, it looks like all change in the defensive area from the League Cup victory mid-week with Josip Juranovic, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt and Greg Taylor all coming back into the XI.

There will be some who argue for a Moritz Jenz berth ahead of Starfelt but I have a feeling that the manager will go with his trusted duo from last season for this fixture and the upcoming Real Madrid test.

In midfield, Callum McGregor will be one of the only players who keeps his spot following the trip to Dingwall. Ahead of him I’ve gone for a Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley combination after they were rested on Wednesday night.

Again, nobody would be too shocked if David Turnbull was selected, but Hatate and O’Riley look like the prime picks at the moment.

In attack, there’s been much debate over who starts out of Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda. I’ve gone for the Japanese international here because I think he will offer more to the team performance as a whole. Abada is a great prospect and his hat-trick last week was wonderful to watch, but he’ll be one of the key weapons from the bench here.

That leaves Jota and Kyogo Furuhashi to round out the starting options today, for a total of nine changes from the 4-1 win over the Staggies.

Giorgos Giakoumakis is also ready to make an impact from the bench after his first start and third goal of the season recently, but Kyogo is the man to lead the attack for this one with his electric pace and movement.

Your predicted XI in full is: Hart, Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, McGregor, Hatate, O’Riley, Jota, Maeda, Kyogo.