Full-back dilemma & other Ange puzzles; Predicted Celtic XI vs Dundee United

By John McGinley

September 26, 2021

Today’s Celtic game at home to Dundee United is a big one. They all are at the moment.

However, after watching Rangers, Hearts and Motherwell all win yesterday, Celtic can’t really afford to lose any more ground on the top three in the Scottish Premiership.

The away form of Ange Postecoglou’s Bhoys has been poor, so it becomes even more important to maximise the opportunities at Celtic Park.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

After a morale-boosting win against Raith Rovers in the League Cup on Thursday, the team are now well placed to pick up three points against today’s visitors.

But what team will Postecoglou go for? The manager has a number of big calls to make, chiefly in the full-back areas and midfield, where his options are strongest at the moment.

Joe Hart is a certainty in goal. He’s been a brilliant signing and as stand-in captain has made his presence felt in multiple ways already.

Joe Hart understands Celtic – and brilliant Thursday moment proved it

Joe Hart understands Celtic – and brilliant Thursday moment proved it

Some may call for the return of Stephen Welsh to the defence but I think the manager will persist with a Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt partnership. A clean sheet on Thursday was nothing we didn’t expect, but this duo need more time on the pitch together.

The wide areas in defence may need a bit more thought. It would be harsh to drop Anthony Ralston on the right flank but I reckon we’ll see the return of Josip Juranovic, who was rested on Thursday night save for a substitute appearance. A return for the summer signing is likely.

It’s Adam Montgomery’s time at left-back too and, despite a strong debut showing from Liam Scales, expect to see the Academy talent make his fourth start for the Bhoys.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

In midfield, you could argue for an Ismaila Soro starting berth but I can see Postecoglou going with the trio of James McCarthy, Tom Rogic and David Turnbull once again. This unit didn’t perform well against Livingston but it should be better suited to the open spaces of Celtic Park, as we witnessed on Thursday night.

The attack picks itself at the moment due to injury and, unless there are knocks we don’t know about, expect to see Jota, Liel Abada and Albian Ajeti be tasked with breaking United down today.

Your predicted XI in full is: Hart, Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Montgomery, McCarthy, Turnbull, Rogic, Abada, Jota, Ajeti.