Celtic could be getting set to face their biggest test of the season when they travel to Easter Road on Sunday.
Rangers, Hearts, and Kilmarnock may have given us trouble in the past, but it’s the Hibees who have given us the most headaches over the last two years since they gained promotion back in 2017.
Under Neil Lennon, Hibs always gave us a game. They would consistently score multiple goals against us, and Celtic often found themselves outplayed and overpowered in the midfield. You could easily say that Lennon consistently outfoxed Brendan Rodgers.
And the biggest takeaway we can take in the build-up is that Lennon is no longer their manager. Indeed, he’s now the interim boss at Parkhead. And here, we take a look at the potential team Lennon could select on Sunday.
Scott Bain is back on form. He’s conceded just two goals over the course of eight matches since Lennon was appointed. It’s safe to say he’s the Celtic number one, and is likely to start.
Mikael Lustig has won his place back over Jeremy Toljan in recent weeks. That’s unlikely to change for the trip to Leith, with Kieran Tierney down the other side.
A new partnership appears to be developing brightly ahead of next season too. Jozo Simunovic and Kristoffer Ajer have been flying over the last three matches. They’ve yet to ship a goal, and will hopefully continue that record on Sunday.
Scott Brown and Callum McGregor have often failed to perform at Easter Road in past meetings. But, in saying that, both were mightily impressive during the 2-0 win there back in March. Lennon seems to have strong trust in both, and to say either wouldn’t start is a tad delusional.
“One of the best in Britain”
James Forrest has been receiving praise from just about everyone this week. If it isn’t Neil Lennon calling him one of the best in Britain, it’s Tierney calling his form “scary”. There’s plenty of pressure on him heading into the run in to back up these compliments. And he should get his chance to continue his fine work on Sunday, having scored in Celtic’s last trip to Easter Road.
Jonny Hayes performed admirably at Hampden, and has started four of the last five matches for the Hoops. He deserves his chance to continue his fine form after his impressive outing against Aberdeen.
Ryan Christie’s unfortunate facial injury will see him miss the trip to Easter Road. Lennon has confirmed this will actually see him miss the rest of the season, and this gives Tom Rogic the chance to secure his place back in the starting XI.
Lennon made an unusual claim earlier this week about only working with one striker since being appointed manager. That’s a bit of a slap in the face to both Timothy Weah and Oliver Burke. But it shows he prefers Odsonne Edouard to his alternative options. Therefore, it’s likely the Frenchman starts once again at Hibs.
It could be a day for title celebrations should Rangers fail to beat Hearts tomorrow. But regardless, it’s a match with plenty riding on it anyway.
Below is the starting XI in list form:
GK – Scott Bain
RB – Mikael Lustig
CB – Jozo Simunovic
CB – Kristoffer Ajer
LB – Kieran Tierney
CM – Scott Brown
CM – Callum McGregor
RM – James Forrest
CAM – Tom Rogic
LM – Jonny Hayes
ST – Odsonne Edouard