Celtic Predicted XI vs KR Reykjavik: Neil Lennon to test two-striker system

By David Walton

August 16, 2020

Celtic’s UEFA Champions League campaign kicks off against KR Reykjavik on Tuesday night in front of an empty Celtic Park.

Neil Lennon’s side will be itching to return to action after over a week out of the game thanks to the Boli Bolingoli saga. With a 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock last time out, recent events have taken the spotlight away from some major decisions that the manager has to make.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The new one-legged qualifying ties in this season’s Champions League gives the Hoops no room for error either.

But despite that, the prospect of further Champions League involvement combined with a thirst to make amends for last Sunday sees us back a convincing Celtic win this week.

Here’s the starting line-up we think Lennon will go for on Tuesday:

Two changes to the team and a change to the system

New goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas was robbed of a clean sheet at Rugby Park last weekend thanks to Christopher Jullien’s glaring error in giving away a penalty. He’ll be hoping to bag his first shut-out on Tuesday.

Celtic defender Hatem Abd Elhamed / (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Many will be crying out for defensive changes after the 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock. Jullien and Kris Ajer struggled with the physical presence of Nicke Kabamba. However, we’re going for both to keep their place along with Hatem Elhamed in a back three.

Scott Brown and Callum McGregor have proven to be Lennon’s go-to men in the midfield, and that will remain the case. James Forrest and Mohamed Elyounoussi will occupy the flanks, with Ryan Christie helping to link play with the strikers.

That means a change to the strikeforce. Odsonne Edouard as always will stay on, but we’re going for Patryk Klimala to get a big opportunity and his first start of the season. New signing Albian Ajeti will, in our view, start on the bench.

Patryk Klimala celebrates his goal against Hamilton (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We feel that Lennon won’t want to make too many personnel changes to the squad. Jeremie Frimpong and Greg Taylor can feel unfortunate to miss this one, but in a 3-5-2 there will have to be some casualties.

Predicted XI: Barkas, El Hamed, Jullien, Ajer, Brown, McGregor, Forrest, Christie, Elyounoussi, Edouard, Klimala