Change-up in Ange's attack; Celtic Predicted XI vs Kilmarnock

By John McGinley

August 14, 2022

Celtic’s second away match of the Scottish Premiership season comes today with a visit to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, and, like last week against Ross County, it could prove to be a difficult test.

The Bhoys will be expected to control possession, territory and chances in the 12pm kick-off but with the home side already making clear they’ll be playing with crude tactics, breaking them down will require a fine Celtic display.

Ange Postecoglou has stuck with a pretty consistent starting eleven in the opening two matches but what will he go with today? Here’s our best estimate…

WARSAW, POLAND – 2022/07/20: Ange Postecoglou coach of Celtic FC seen during the friendly match between Legia Warszawa and Celtic FC at Marshal Jozef Pilsudski Legia Warsaw Municipal Stadium. This match was the last in the career of Artur Boruc (the goalkeeper played in the past for Legia Warszawa and Celtic FC). Final score; Legia Warszawa 2:2 Celtic FC. (Photo by Mikolaj Barbanell/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Joe Hart will again be between the sticks. The Englishman wasn’t called into action too many times last week in Dingwall but did pull off one stunning stop from a free-kick and will need to stay sharp again.

A back four of Josip Juranovic, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Moritz Jenz and Greg Taylor again looks the order of the day.

Postecoglou said he would make late fitness calls on both Carl Starfelt and Stephen Welsh, but with the plastic pitch and the fact Welsh only returned to training on Friday, Jenz should get the nod.

In midfield, a trio of Callum McGregor, Matt O’Riley and David Turnbull again looks likely. Reo Hatate is a confirmed absentee, with the manager stating he wants another week’s training out of him to get him fully up to speed after his knocks against Aberdeen.

It’s in attack where we could see the big and only change. Jota is surely a guaranteed starter given his devilish performances over the last two weeks. However, on the opposite flank, it could be a day for Liel Abada, after his brilliant contribution last week.

The young Israeli has a different skill set to Daizen Maeda, so the Japanese international could still make it in ahead of him, but Abada’s goal threat and ability to find space in the box would cause Kilmarnock serious problems. It would also allow us to see the best of Jota on the left.

Through the middle, I still expect to see Kyogo Furuhashi – although there will be calls for Giorgos Giakoumakis to be involved in the second half, especially if Celtic need something of a plan B.

Your predicted XI in full is: Hart, Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Jenz, Taylor, McGregor, Turnbull, O’Riley, Abada, Jota, Kyogo.