Celtic derby team confirmed: Forrest returns, global broadcast details, instant reaction

By John McGinley

May 2, 2021

Celtic interim boss John Kennedy has named his team for today’s derby against Rangers at Ibrox, per the official club website.

The full match squad is as follows:

Starting XI – Bain, Kenny, Ajer, Welsh, Taylor, Brown, McGregor, Forrest, Turnbull, Elyounoussi, Edouard.

Substitutes – Barkas, Bitton, Griffiths, Ajeti, Soro, Christie, Johnston, Ralston, Laxalt.

The headline news is that James Forrest returns to the starting line-up after his injury setback. It had been hoped he’d be fit for the last derby, but the long-serving winger didn’t quite make it.

He should add a real attacking threat to our performance this lunchtime.

Kris Ajer has also overcome a shoulder problem to take part today.

Elsewhere, Greg Taylor starts instead of Diego Laxalt on the left flank after the Uruguayan’s horrible performance last time at Ibrox.

Mikey Johnston also returns to the bench after his return to fitness from injury. It’s a strong team that can hopefully be competitive against our rivals.

Broadcast details

Today’s game is not the club’s ‘Pass To Paradise’ streaming service for season ticket holders as the fixture takes place away from home.

Celtic TV will be broadcasting live coverage, for subscribers to the separate service, outside of the UK & Ireland.

The match will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football.

For those who cannot tune in there, BBC Radio Scotland is providing live audio commentary over the airwaves and online.

Supporters in the USA can watch on ESPN+. Globally, the match is on a massive 64 channels in 111 countries.

Instant reaction: What to make of Celtic team v Rangers

The inclusion of Forrest and Elyounoussi suggests John Kennedy is abandoning the central diamond and going with a more traditional 4-2-3-1 model with two wingers.

This was likely the team he was planning to deploy in the Scottish Cup before Forrest’s setback. It will be designed to expose the channels and gaps between the Rangers full-backs and centre-halves.

Celtic winger James Forrest / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’s a major positive in my view and I have more confidence we can get a goal or two now I’ve seen the team news.

There’s also flexibility in the way Celtic can adjust in the match. If we’re being outnumbered in midfield, Kennedy can easily rearrange.

With plenty of firepower on the bench too, we really have the chance to be aggressive and take the game to the home side today.

A win would be a real morale booster ahead of a potential managerial announcement over the coming week.

In other news, Celtic are refusing to give up on Olivier Ntcham.