Celtic predicted lineup vs Kilmarnock: Ryan Christie certain to start

By John Reid

February 22, 2020

Celtic’s busy schedule continues on Sunday when the Hoops take on Kilmarnock in a vital league game.

The team must put the second leg of the Europa League last 32 tie against Copenhagen on the back burner for 90 minutes to concentrate on getting the three that will maintain the Hoops’ 10 point lead at the top of the league.

However, the team selected by Neil Lennon will have been impacted by the midweek 1-1 draw in Denmark, as Scott Brown is unlikely to feature after going off in the second-half against Copenhagen with a calf injury.

Other than that, we expect changes to be at a minimum for the Hoops, as Neil Lennon will want to keep the continuity of the team that is in a fine domestic run of form.

With that in mind, we think the Celtic manager will keep faith in the 4-3-3 formation that he used against Copenhagen.

The team

Here is the team we expect Neil Lennon to select at Celtic Park:

In goals, as ever, will be Fraser Forster. The Hoops goalkeeper once more proved his worth with a vital penalty save against Copenhagen, and he has undeniably been one of Celtic’s best players this season.

At left-back, we predict Jonny Hayes will once more start. He performed decently against Copenhagen, and he is a favourite of Neil Lennon. There is also no need to risk Greg Taylor if he is not fully fit.

The Celtic huddle (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Right-back, we expect a change, and Moritz Bauer to replace Jeremie Frimpong. Frimpong is just back from injury, and it would be perhaps too much to expect him to play three games in a week. Therefore, Bauer will get the nod to start.

At centre-back, we predict another change, with Jozo Simunovic replacing Christopher Jullien, who did suffer a head injury in the first-half against Copenhagen.

However, he recovered to perform very well. Still, there is no need to gamble on his fitness and Simunovic is a suitable replacement. To partner Simunovic, Kristoffer Ajer.

Key man set to be replaced

Now to midfield, and with Scott Brown injured, we expect Nir Bitton to take his place in the middle of the park. Callum McGregor should get his customary start, and we predict that Ryan Christie will start in a midfield role.

The 18-goal star is suspended for the second leg against Copenhagen, and we believe he is certain to start in place of Olivier Ntcham. That is the sensible move to make.

Scott Brown celebrates after scoring (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

As for the front three, James Forrest seems certain to keep his place on the right, with Mohamed Elyounoussi to return on the left. He is the kind of player who could win the game on his own, and he will be desperate for some more game time after his return from injury.

The lone striker – Odsonne Edouard, who will be looking to make up for missing some good chances against Copenhagen, even though he did score.

As ever, here is the team in list form:

GK – Fraser Forster

RB – Moritz Bauer

CB – Jozo Simunovic

CB – Kristoffer Ajer

LB – Jonny Hayes

CM – Nir Bitton

CM – Callum McGregor

AM – Ryan Christie

RW – James Forrest

LW – Mohamed Elyounoussi

CF – Odsonne Edouard

Do you agree with the predicted line-up? What changes would you make to the team? Share your thoughts below with a comment in our new discussion forum…