Devastating options for big title push; Celtic Predicted XI vs Hearts

By John McGinley

May 7, 2022

All of us are hoping today’s early kick-off against Hearts at Celtic Park is another significant step towards the Scottish Premiership title.

Ange Postecoglou’s Bhoys host Hearts knowing that a victory will put them nine points clear ahead of Rangers playing tomorrow.

The reality is that it doesn’t really matter what the Ibrox side do now. A win will guarantee we are at least six points clear heading into the final two games of the season. There’s also a massive goal difference advantage. Celtic can effectively seal the title today.

But what team will Ange go with vs Robbie Neilson’s outfit? Here’s our best guess…

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Celtic Predicted XI vs Hearts

Joe Hart is a guarantee in goal as always. With Josip Juranovic still injured, the most likely back four are Anthony Ralston, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt and Greg Taylor.

Big decisions will be made in midfield. However, Callum McGregor will be one of the first names on the teamsheet.

Who the manager should go with ahead of McGregor will vary from person to person. For me, the signs are that Postecoglou will stick with Reo Hatate.

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The Japanese talent has received criticism in recent weeks but against Hearts has already shown he has the quality to punish them. The manager has put his faith in him so far and it’s doubtful that will change.

I also think Matt O’Riley will be given another chance to start, despite the presence of Tom Rogic.

In attack, the trio of Daizen Maeda, Jota and Kyogo Furuhashi is hard to deny, though som will certainly fancy seeing Liel Abada or Giorgos Giakoumakis.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The reality is that Postecoglou has devastating options to get the job done today. Juranovic is the only injury and there’s an embarrassment of riches between the starting eleven and bench.

If Celtic start with the intensity and attacking ambition we’ve come to expect from them, it should be the three points we’re all desperate for.

Our predicted XI in full is: Hart, Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, McGregor, Hatate, O’Riley, Jota, Maeda, Kyogo.

In other news, Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou reveals City Group wanted to keep “outstanding asset” Mark Lawwell.