Europa League team selection will provide clue to Celtic priorities

By John Reid

February 20, 2019

You will be able to gauge how seriously Celtic are taking the upcoming Europa League second leg tie against Valencia with the team Brendan Rodgers picks to start the game.

The Hoops are 2-0 down from the first leg. It will require one of the best results in Celtic’s European history to get through to the next round.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With that in mind, Brendan Rodgers might choose to rest some of his ‘bigger’ players. Particularly when you consider that the Hoops have some important domestic fixtures coming up.

Big domestic fixtures ahead

The Hoops face Motherwell, Hearts and Hibernian in the Scottish Cup in the 10 days after the Valencia game.

(photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

If you were to ask the fans what where the most important games, they would say the domestic ones. This would probably not the case if the Hoops weren’t outclassed so badly in the first leg.

Will first-team regulars start?

If the likes of Scott Sinclair, Callum McGregor and James Forrest are rested, the tie is all but over before it has started.

(photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

However, if Rodgers picks his strongest team, it shows that attempting to qualify for the last 16 is still important.

It would not be a shock to see some fringe players start in Spain.

It will be a gamble, but if the Hoops win the ‘treble treble’ at the end of the season any criticism will be forgotten about.