Ange's midfield call, another big test for Johnston; Celtic Predicted XI vs Kilmarnock

By John McGinley

January 14, 2023

Celtic play Kilmarnock at Hampden Park this evening, hoping to make it into the second successive Scottish League Cup final during Ange Postecoglou’s reign.

This was the first trophy won by the Australian at Celtic and the squad will be hoping the tournament can again act as a springboard towards more success at the end of the season. First up though, it’s a semi-final test against a defensively dogged Ayrshire side.

What kind of team will the manager go with? Here’s our best go at the eleven…

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

There’s actually a bit of debate surrounding the goalkeeping position today with Joe Hart possibly dropping out to give another shot-stopper a go, as happened in previous rounds. However, given it is a much bigger occasion, we’ve opted for Hart to stay in the side.

The defensive line could be unchanged from last week with Alistair Johnston, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt and Alexandro Bernabei all fit and available to play.

However, there is room for manoeuvre, specifically with Josip Juranovic. Despite all the exit speculation, he remains one of the most experienced players in the side when it comes to these big matches. Will the manager bring the Croatian back in or will Johnston be given another big early challenge in his Bhoys career?

There are options in midfield too. Matt O’Riley could come back into contention after dropping out for Aaron Mooy last Saturday, but the Australian is a fine candidate to start on recent form, plus the experience factor.

Callum McGregor and Reo Hatate are likely to complement whoever wins that selection battle.

In attack, we reckon the strongest three right now are Jota, Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi and it’d be a surprise if Postecoglou went for someone else today – though Liel Abada may well be the closest to disrupting that trio.

Your predicted XI in full is: Hart, Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Bernabei, McGregor, Mooy, Hatate, Jota, Maeda, Kyogo.

Celtic Predicted XI vs Kilmarnock

In other news, Ange Postecoglou offers reassurance on Juranovic and Giakoumakis with Celtic ‘evidence’.