Big goalkeeping call, fresh debut; Celtic predicted XI vs Hearts

By David Walton

July 30, 2021

The Celtic XI that tackle Hearts tomorrow night has a massive responsibility on its shoulders.

Not just to themselves, but to the club, the supporters, and most certainly their manager. Ange Postecoglou has defended them to the hilt since crashing out of the UCL in pathetic fashion to Midtjylland. Yet so far, he isn’t getting a tune out of enough of them.

The likes of David Turnbull, Odsonne Edouard, and Ismaila Soro need to start stepping up in particular. Too many guaranteed starters simply aren’t showing what we know them to be capable of.

An off day against the Jambos tomorrow is unthinkable. Postecoglou is under enough unnecessary pressure. He doesn’t need points dropped on his league debut to be added onto things.

So when it comes to selecting his XI for the game in Gorgie, it will have to be absolutely spot on. Here’s what we think he’ll do:

Barkas’ chance is already over as Bain claims spot; Starfelt in

The goalkeeping position seems a complicated one, but it’s actually really simple. We don’t have anyone currently at the club who’s good enough to be given the jersey.

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Recent speculation about a move for Joe Hart shows where the club is at [Sky Sports]. We’re desperate for a new body in that area of the pitch. Unfortunately, that body won’t be in the door for tomorrow night.

Scott Bain was hardly impressive in Midtjylland, but he didn’t make any glaring mistakes. That’s where we’re at now. If our goalkeeper doesn’t produce a horrible performance, he’s back in. Bain wasn’t to blame for either goal, and Vasilis Barkas appears to have seen another big chance to claim his spot come and go.

The backline will finally have a more senior feel to it also. Granted, there will still be big shortages. Carl Starfelt will come in to partner Stephen Welsh, with Dane Murray on the bench.

Unfortunately, there are still no viable alternatives to Anthony Ralston or Greg Taylor. Meaning of course that both of them will start at right-back and left-back respectively.

Reliable Celtic midfield showing some glitches; needs fixing for Tynecastle

What was worrying about the 2-1 loss to Midtjylland was our ball retention. There were far too many loose passes in the final third that let us down in Denmark.

David Turnbull, Ryan Christie, and Ismaila Soro were particularly guilty of this. We were far too careless on the ball and it halted some extremely promising attacks from coming off.

That’s despite the fact those same players had both impressed in pre-season and bossed the first leg against Midtjylland.

Ange took responsibility, now the Celtic board must do the same

Ange took responsibility, now the Celtic board must do the same
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But again Postecoglou has the same problem as with the backline. He just doesn’t have enough options. He can’t drop Soro and replace him with a reliable backup. Christie will start on the left again due to Mikey Johnston’s injury. And we’re not going to start Tom Rogic over Turnbull given what we saw from him on Wednesday either, are we?

Captain Callum McGregor was the only one who could hold his head up after Midjylland. He’ll play alongside Soro with Turnbull operating slightly higher up.

The second of Postecoglou’s signings to play against the Jambos will be Liel Abada. James Forrest may have returned in Denmark for a half-hour spell, but he’s still a bit off from being 100%. Abada looked the sharper and deserves to start.

Odsonne Edouard to start; Kyogo Furuhashi to make surprise cameo

When we see the team lines tomorrow, we all expect Odsonne Edouard to start the match. With Leigh Griffiths out and Albian Ajeti struggling for starts, it makes sense for now.

However, we’re also going with Kyogo Furuhashi to make a cameo appearance at some stage. He’ll start the match on the bench, with fans hoping he can do a Scott Sinclair in Midlothian.

Edouard, meanwhile, simply needs to perform. If he wants to bag a decent move this summer, he needs to be doing more than he has been. He was poor again in Denmark, and Postecoglou needs to start seeing a cutting edge from him over the next few weeks.

Now would be a great time for Odsonne to turn it on. Again, given the lack of goalscorers in our team, if he isn’t firing then neither is Celtic.

Fingers crossed he gets the message.

In other news, Report: Celtic-linked Siriki Dembele valued at £4m by Peterborough United