Today’s Celtic XI to face Hibernian at Easter Road has been confirmed, and there are one or two surprises.
The Hoops know that three points today will take them to within one win of the Premiership title. That could come when Kilmarnock visit Celtic Park next Saturday, but only if three points are secured today.
Should Celtic fail to win today, then that won’t help anyone who may be getting just slightly nervous that the games are ticking down.
But Lennon isn’t taking too many chances today. The Scottish Cup final may just be one month away, but there’s no rest for the weary at this current stage. You can see the full team line-up below:
📋 The team news is in, Celts! 📋
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 21, 2019
No surprises that Scott Bain starts in goal. Meanwhile, Mikael Lustig is the natural right-back choice these days. Lustig’s place over Jeremy Toljan looks more secure by the week.
The big surprise of the day, however, is no Kieran Tierney in the mix. He’s been replaced by Emilio Izaguirre, who gets the chance to redeem himself for Valencia. Tierney, meanwhile, isn’t even in the squad. Hopefully, this is just down to giving KT a rest.
But, the most important part of today’s team sheet is what’s going on at centre-back. Jozo Simunovic has been earning praise from all quarters for his display against Aberdeen last week. He’ll get his chance to continue his partnership with Kristoffer Ajer at the heart of the defence today. It will be interesting to see if this is an audition for next season.
There is also one more slight surprise here too.
Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham will likely operate in the centre of midfield, with Callum McGregor performing just ahead of them. This means that there’s also no Tom Rogic in the starting line-up, although the Aussie makes the bench along with Oliver Burke. James Forrest and Jonny Hayes, meanwhile, keep their spots.
Up top, it’s the man of the moment. Lennon interestingly said last week that he wants Leigh Griffiths back because he’s only been working with “one striker” since rejoining the club two months ago. Despite having Timothy Weah and Vakoun Issouf Bayo at times since coming in, it was an odd choice of words.
But no prizes for guessing who that one striker is – Odsonne Edouard. He put to bed our penalty woes in last weekend’s 3-0 rout of Aberdeen at Hampden. His confidence must be growing after bagging his 20th goal of the season in that match. Today, don’t be surprised if he nabs 21 or 22 for the campaign either.
So a couple of slight tweaks from Lennon this afternoon, but not any eye-watering concerns. Hopefully, it works out, and come around 2:15 pm we’re just one win from the title.