Big attacking return, creativity in midfield; Celtic Predicted XI v Dundee United

By Euan Davidson

January 29, 2022

For Celtic, consistency is utterly key as Dundee United come to town.

The Terriers came to Celtic Park and got a point off us in September [BBC], leading the typical doomsayers to bring apocalyptic visions of the Hoops’ title chances. Again, it was September.

The Celts have subsequently made light work of Dundee United, dominating the Terriers at Tannadice in December. However, some key names from that game, most notably David Turnbull and Tom Rogic, won’t feature today. For Celtic, although the boss won’t admit, it’s a chance to enact revenge for September’s disappointing draw.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It’ll be a different-looking team for Ange this time, though. The midfield alone is entirely different to the one from that September stalemate.

What can Celtic do to ensure a victory this time round? Well, do exactly as we have been doing. The defence could, admittedly, use a clean sheet after conceding against Alloa Athletic and Hearts. However, there’s enough firepower in our ranks, and immense excitement in terms of our new players, and what they could bring to the table.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it; our Celtic Predicted XI to face Dundee United.

Ange not expecting any more signings, as Dundee United sell key player before Celtic clash

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Ange not expecting any more signings, as Dundee United sell key player before Celtic clash
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No shocks in our Celtic Predicted XI in terms of the defence; but they need a clean sheet

If you’re looking for any major surprises in defence, like Ange changing to a back 2, or Dane Murray coming in as a Libero, I’m sorry. I’ve failed you.

Because Ange Postecoglou has the luxury of options in defence. His best option, though, is aiming for consistency. With Joe Hart starting in goals today, that mission begins with the ex-England goalkeeper.

Uncharacteristically, Hart has conceded twice in as many games, and while it didn’t affect the result, he’ll be annoyed. There wasn’t a whole lot the former Manchester City man could’ve done on either occasion, but they were soft goals.

So, some improvement is needed from our back for of Josip Juranovic, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt and Greg Taylor.

There’s a temptation to suggest Anthony Ralston could be thrown in. However, on current form, you just don’t leave a guy like Juranovic out. Even with that game on Wednesday, I can’t see Ange Postecoglou resting any of his preferred back four.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Another important shift for new-look Celtic midfield

In a matter of hours, we get to see Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley play football again. In a crucial game like this, as Celtic aim to cast aside an earlier disappointment against Dundee United, that’s exciting.

The duo, though they’ve barely played together either in training or games, looked good value as a partnership against Hearts.

With O’Riley making wide runs, and Hatate pinging passes (or even shooting from distance), there’s a lot of creativity there.

They’ll be anchored by the calming presence of Nir Bitton, who was fantastic at Tynecastle, and is good value for another star turn here.

It’s a Celtic Park debut for Matt O’Riley, by the way. If he found the atmosphere at Tynecastle startling, he’s in for an absolute treat today…

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Abada back in the fold for Celtic; Dundee United know he’s dangerous

We’ve got Abada, and he’s on the wing for our Celtic Predicted XI. James Forrest still doesn’t look quite right, and given his exploits in the earlier game against Dundee United, you’d surely pick the Israeli international for today.

The winger, so direct and pacy, can be a nightmare for any defence. To be honest, he remains underrated, despite his contributions this season. In what’s been a really stand-out debut campaign, we trust Abada to make a real impact today.

Just as he did against Hibernian and Alloa Athletic. If he’s got another edge-of-the-box piledriver in him, happy days.

On the left? It’s Jota time. Having him in from the start at Celtic Park just feels right; he’s got license to go directly at a Dundee United back-line that’s missing some vital parts. There’s a promising partnership in the offing, too; with Giorgos Giakoumakis, who we think will lead the line today.

Jota seems to love playing teams from the East Coast, as Aberdeen, Dundee, St Johnstone and more can testify.

So here it is, our Celtic Predicted XI to face Dundee United.

COYBIG.

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