The exciting Celtic youngsters most likely to feature vs Hibs

By John McGinley

January 11, 2021

Could tonight’s Celtic team vs Hibs be full of youngsters?

That’s the question on everyone’s minds right now after a day of drama at the club.

With everything going on, it’s easy to forget we actually have a match to play tonight.

Jack Ross’ Hibernian side visit Celtic Park hoping to put another nail in the coffin of our title bid.

Neil Lennon, who won’t be in the dugout tonight, knows that only a victory will do.

We’ve learned that 13 first-team players are currently self-isolating which, along with Chris Jullien, makes up a substantial chunk of the Celtic first-team squad.

Who is on that self-isolation list is currently unknown. Only rumours are doing the rounds right now, none of which are credible.

That means Celtic could get ‘lucky’ in the sense that those missing aren’t exactly starting eleven regulars.

However, equally, it could mean that the coaching staff have to select a crew of youngsters for the Scottish Premiership clash.

That may be no bad thing. It would actually be refreshing to see some young players get a huge chance in a live TV game.

But who might they be?

It’s tempting to think of players such as Karamoko Dembele and Armstrong Okoflex but the truth is they’ve been miles away from the first-team squad for ages.

However, there are some exciting talents who have been in and around matchday squads since the start of December who could get the nod tonight.

The Celtic youngsters for Hibs test

The most obvious is probably winger Mikey Johnston, who has slowly been nursed back to fitness and was already on the verge of a starting berth.

He could get his first start since last January tonight.

Celtic winger Mikey Johnston / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

In defence, things are looking rough. With Jullien out, Nir Bitton suspended and Shane Duffy’s status unknown, we could well see a player such as Stephen Welsh get another huge chance.

Welsh hasn’t started since the 3-1 defeat to AC Milan but did come off the bench against Lille in December.

If you’re looking for something a little more experimental then a Cameron Harper debut could appease you. He may not have made an appearance to date but he has been named on the bench four times this season, the most recent occasion being the win over Lille.

Ewan Henderson in action for Celtic / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Harper has the ability to play on both flanks as an attacker, or through the middle. That versatility could be key to getting some minutes tonight.

Perhaps one of the most likely to get a shot, if he’s not self-isolating, is Ewan Henderson. He came off the bench in that Lille match and excelled for an hour after an injury to Jeremie Frimpong.

In fact, it’s surprising he’s not been in a match squad since. Perhaps tonight will be the night.

In other news, this is why tonight’s match is going ahead.