Potential debuts and changes aplenty; Celtic Predicted XI v Ross County

By Euan Davidson

September 11, 2021

In many respects, the Celtic team that face Ross County today will be markedly different from the one that went to Ibrox.

For one thing, both Edouard and Christie, who started two weeks ago, have left the club. Kyogo, who played to Eddy’s left, will be missing through injury.

Not only that, the club have added depth since that game. A veritable flurry of new talents arrived through Parkhead’s gates on transfer deadline day. That could be just one of the main reasons the Celtic v Ross County match today is a sell-out.

So, with all that said, who do we think will make Postecoglou’s starting XI?

Celtic v Ross County: changes at the back?

Barring anything unfortunate, you can expect to see Joe Hart’s name emerge here each and every time for the foreseeable. The former Manchester City goalkeeper will be looking for a clean sheet after some derby disappointment prior to the international break.

However, with Betis in mind, here’s where things get interesting. I think Josip Juranovic will get the nod today. On the right flank, this time.

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With a full home crowd backing the team, it’s a good opportunity for some of the new lads to really settle. Not only that, Juranovic will be keen to put himself in contention for the Europa League on Thursday.

Granted, Ralston’s had a rest, what with Steve Clarke oddly rejecting the Bhoys right-back. And his form is excellent. However, I would argue it’s because of how good Ralston’s been that he might get rested today. Risking injury here might be a bad move.

In the middle, I’d expect to see Stephen Welsh and Cameron Carter-Vickers. Carter-Vickers, the American international on loan from Spurs, should receive an excellent welcome.

On the left, I was tempted to pick Liam Scales, but it’d be hard to look past Adam Montgomery. With Greg Taylor being given time to recover, he could be back in contention, but it’s not entirely clear. Liam Scales, meanwhile, might be given a bit longer before he makes his first start.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

In midfield: Celtic going for the jugular

After the disappointing result at Ibrox, it’s likely to be all about attacking Ross County for Celtic today. There are goals to be had, and you need creative midfield forces to make that happen.

With that in mind, it seems as if Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic and David Turnbull will start. Rather than an out-and-out number ten, we might see Callum McGregor dropping back ever so slightly, with Rogic and Turnbull playing ahead.

Yes, it’s potentially risky to play all three before a European away game, but they don’t have to play the whole 90 minutes today. Restoring some confidence is the main objective this afternoon, and having goal threats from midfield is surely one of the best ways to achieve that.

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

A new-look attack for Celtic against Ross County?

Here’s where it gets particularly interesting.

The gloriously-quaffed Jota should be expected to start on the left today. Having made a real impression with his first press conference, Celtic supporters will be desperate to see what the Benfica loanee can do. His reputation from Portugal brings real excitement; can he hit the ground running on his debut?

Up front, Ajeti has been backed by Postecoglou, and we’d expect to see the Swiss striker make a start. In his press conference yesterday, Ange Postecoglou said he wasn’t going to rush new Bhoy Giorgos Giakoumakis [Celtic YouTube].

By process of elimination, that leaves Ajeti as the obvious choice. Although, Liel Abada is adept as a centre-forward, too, and could be an interesting option.

On the right, meanwhile, it’s surely Liel Abada who’ll be in. On electric form, he has to be the main choice.

In other news: Report: More Celtic board upheaval could be on the way after McKay shock