Devastating attack, Academy talent returns; Celtic Predicted XI v Ferencvaros
Celtic face Ferencvaros in a game that could decide the Bhoys’ fate in Europe this season.
In an unusual early kick-off, on a Tuesday no less, the Hoops need a win against Ferencvaros to give themselves hope of European football beyond Christmas. The Hungarians host Celtic in the return fixture at the start of November. Points are absolutely crucial.
Luckily, manager Ange Postecoglou has some more options, and momentum on his side. A second consecutive win on the road has undoubtedly boosted morale. Equally, he’s nearing having a best XI he can put out either domestically, or in the Europa League.
There’s a feel-good factor and strong ambition emanating from the boss. While one of his better performers on Saturday will be unavailable, in the form of Boli Bolingoli, there is a very strong team Postecoglou can put out today.
Here’s what we reckon he’s going to go with to face the Hungarians at Celtic Park today.
A strong Celtic defence helped by a return for Ferencvaros meeting
We’re Adam Montgomery fans here. Since his excellent debut in 20-21, the versatile left-sided player has shown on a number of occasions that he’s not easily intimidated.
That’ll serve him well, because he’s likely coming into the team today, in Bolingoli and Taylor’s absence. Although Liam Scales is an option, the Academy graduate seems likeliest to step up for Postecoglou.
Behind him, Joe Hart will be looking for consecutive clean sheets. For that, he’ll be relying upon a back four including Carl Starfelt, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Anthony Ralston.
If you’re counting, that’s two ex-Academy players in the starting line-up, already. After a morale boosting shut-out at Fir Park, Ferencvaros offer more attacking threat. However, Starfelt and Carter-Vickers seem to be building a solid foundation together.
Splitting wide in Postecoglou’s system, they’ll provide the basis for Monty and Ralston to get further forward, seek out positions more centrally, and help to cause chaos in possession.
If we can avoid chaos without the ball, all the better.
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Although it’s Europe, and a great many supporter might like to see a traditional holding midfielder in the team, we can’t see it.
Given Tom Rogic‘s assist and David Turnbull‘s outrageous goal on Saturday, it’s impossible to drop either of them. And with a fit Callum McGregor shuttling up and down the pitch, it’s a midfield that just oozes creativity.
That is, indeed, when it’s on song. And they’ll need to be this afternoon.
Admittedly, it’s not a midfield with a great deal of physicality. But there is substantial cunning within that midfield to make the ball work for them. This is a big test for McGregor, having missed the first two Europa group games.
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Celtic have attacking tools to down Ferencvaros
With Jota in fantastic form – enough to make his fans at Benfica take notice – it’s another chance to impress for the remarkably likeable left-winger. And given his recent antics, you’d expect him to do. He makes this team at a canter.
So do his attacking colleagues. Kyogo Furuhashi will want to get back amongst the goals and cause problems for the Hungarians with his movement. On his right, Liel Abada can give any defender nightmares. At just 20, he’s a player with enormous potential.
Given the cumulative age of this front three, you might reasonably worry if there’s enough guile and experience, on paper. But if these guys have proven anything so far, it’s that they don’t need many opportunities to hurt teams.
If we can see the contributions we saw against Real Betis, this time with the imperious Japan international in the middle, then there are undoubtedly goals here.
In no time at all, each of this front three has made themselves a fan favourite. Against Ferencvaros, in unusual circumstances, they’ll be relied upon to provide attacking thrust in a game that requires plenty of goals.