After a week of almost constant build-up, it’s time for Celtic to do their talking on the pitch and strive to win the Scottish League Cup at Rangers’ expense.
Ange Postecoglou’s Bhoys haven’t been beaten domestically since September. Celtic come into this match with a fully fit squad and a number of players in peak form.
With so many options, there are a number of ways the manager can go with his team today, but what XI will he pick? Here’s our best go at today’s team…
Predicted Celtic team vs Rangers
Joe Hart will be between the sticks for Celtic today as the best option of the available goalkeepers. Ahead of him, we’re expecting an unchanged defensive line of Greg Taylor, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt and Alistair Johnston – all of whom have looked strong in recent weeks.
In midfield is where the big decisions start to be made and your mileage will vary when it comes to who you want to see, with plenty of players capable of starting.
Callum McGregor assuredly will as club captain. He’s the leader these players look to and has vast experience of winning on these occasions.
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Reo Hatate is also almost certainly going to feature too given his incredible burst of form since the World Cup break. He’s a contender for player of the year honours at the moment and will be instrumental to any Celtic win today.
But are you going for Aaron Mooy or Matt O’Riley? I’m a big Mooy fan but my gut feeling is that today might just be one for O’Riley to start. This match is going to start at 100mph, frenetic and intense.
In the team, we may need the more mobile O’Riley to help counteract that, as much as Mooy has been dominant against Scottish teams of late. O’Riley’s partnership with Hatate is also exceptional. The Australian would also be available to come into the game in the second half and perhaps help settle things down if needed. He can play a strong role even if he isn’t in the initial eleven.
Kyogo Furuhashi should be coming back into the team after Hyeongyu Oh’s first start last weekend. The Japanese forward has netted 22 goals in all competitions this season and is fully fit for this one.
On the wings, I reckon Jota and Daizen Maeda are our best options. Jota was instrumental in the 4-0 win against them in September and Maeda’s pace could cause them all sorts of problems.
Your Predicted XI in full is: Hart, Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor, McGregor, O’Riley, Hatate, Jota, Maeda, Kyogo.