Celtic's Predicted XI vs Red Bull Salzburg

By David Walton

December 12, 2018

Celtic’s XI to face Salzburg on Thursday night goes along the typical cliche of “it picks itself.”

That’s because there’s simply no way any of Celtic’s current heroes can be dropped. A 5-1 dismantling of Kilmarnock saw the original seven outgoing players against Motherwell thrown back in.

And with that, we saw Celtic’s best starting line-up in full flow against Steve Clarke’s men. The rout wasn’t anything more than Celtic deserved for a dominating display.

Celtic were heroic in their win against RB Leipzig (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Despite that, the big games keep coming, and as usual, Craig Gordon will keep his place in the sticks.

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A nasty knock to Dedryck Boyata will keep him out for a short period. That means he’ll miss Thursday night as he looks to get back to action as quickly as possible. What that means, therefore, is that Jozo Simunovic is going to get his big chance to shine along-side Filip Benkovic.

Simunovic hasn’t convinced Celtic supporters for some times now. He has, however, started the last two matches and is ready to go on Thursday in his shot at redemption.

The one change that will definitely be made is Kieran Tierney for Emilio Izaguirre. The Honduran rolled back the years with a sensational performance against Kilmarnock. Tierney, however, seems to be everyone’s favourite player, and is set to be fit for the visit of Red Bull. He’ll be put back in with Mikael Lustig down the opposite side to make up the back four.

Celtic’s 4-2-3-1 system changes when Scott Brown isn’t playing. Callum McGregor plays around 10 yards further forward than Brown, and this is a game where Celtic need to take it to the Austrians.

Callum McGregor was commanding against Leipzig and will feature again on Thursday night (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Therefore, both McGregor and Ryan Christie will occupy the defensive-midfield slots, which are in title only. Both men will get forward to support the attack and look to hurt Red Bull with their own goal threats.

The man of the weekend was James Forrest, He earned special recognition for his display against Killie from the Europa League’s own Twitter account. His brace put Celtic to the top of the table, and with Scott Sinclair down the left and Tom Rogic in the centre, Celtic will be in fine nick.

Up top, there’s only one man that can feature. Odsonne Edouard scored that vital late winner against RB Leipzig. Despite only having two goals in the group stage, he’s still the club’s top goalscorer in it.

Here’s the full predicted line-up below:

GK – Craig Gordon

RB – Mikael Lustig

CB – Filip Benkovic

CB – Jozo Simunovic

LB – Kieran Tierney

CM – Callum McGregor

CM – Ryan Christie

RM – James Forrest

CAM – Tom Rogic

LM – Scott Sinclair

ST – Odsonne Edouard