Predicted Celtic XI vs Hibernian: Edouard to start; Duffy to miss out

By John Reid

November 19, 2020

After two eventful weeks of international football, Celtic return to league duty on Saturday with a trip to Easter Road to play Hibernian.

It is a huge game for the Hoops, who will want to put pressure on Rangers, who play Aberdeen on Sunday, but also show the team is back on track after a poor spell before the international break.

It won’t be an easy game. Hibernian are never easy to beat at Easter Road and Neil Lennon won’t have much time with his squad after so many players have just returned from international duty.

A game that the Hoops must win

Still, it is a match that Celtic must win, and here is the team we predict Neil Lennon will select to start the game.

In goals, Scott Bain will keep his place in the team. Neil Lennon seems to have determined that Bain is the number one goalkeeper, don’t expect that to change yet.

Now onto the defence. We predict that the Hoops boss will stick with the back four which worked for the most part against Motherwell.

At left-back – Diego Laxalt. He has been in brilliant form for the Hoops since joining on loan and it is a guaranteed starter at the moment. We predict a change at right-back with Hatem Elhamed to return. It is too soon to risk Jeremie Frimpong after he looked to pick up an injury in the game against Motherwell before the break. Elhamed is a more than capable replacement.

In defence, it has to be the current first-choice duo of Kris Ajer and Nir Bitton. The game is probably too soon for the returning Christopher Jullien. Whilst Shane Duffy is better off on the bench whilst he attempts to recover his form.

Now on to the middle of the park. The usual duo of Scott Brown and Callum McGregor will start. Should McGregor tire after his Scotland duty, David Turnbull is an option off the bench.

Further forward, three players who could run riot if they get enough of the ball. Mo Elyounoussi has to start, he is in great form after scoring a hat-trick against Motherwell in his last appearance for the Hoops.

Playing too well to be left out

Alongside him, Tom Rogic. Rogic is in his best run of form for a long time. His guile and creativity could be key to any Celtic win.

Ryan Christie celebrates for Celtic against Aberdeen / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The third man of the attacking trio will be Ryan Christie. He was excellent for Scotland in the recent internationals. He might be tired, but he’s playing too well to be left out of the side.

Now onto the lone striker – we predict that Odsonne Edouard will be unleashed after not starting Celtic’s last few league games. Edouard impressed for France under-21s during the international break with two goals against Switzerland, becoming the highest ever goal-scorer for the Baby Blues in a historic achievement. He deserves to return to the starting line-up.

Predicted XI:Scott Bain, Hatem Elhamed, Nir Bitton, Kris Ajer, Diego Laxalt, Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic, Mo Elyounoussi, Ryan Christie, Odsonne Edouard. 

In other news, the new lockdown rules have forced Celtic to close all the Scottish club shops.