Hearts boss states one change he expects Celtic to make today
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson believes he has the Celtic starting XI sussed this afternoon, but has outlined the one change he thinks Ange Postecoglou will make.
Celtic are out looking for revenge against the Jambos this afternoon. The two sides will clash in the last-16 of the Premier Sports Cup. It comes only a fortnight after Hearts beat the Hoops on the opening day of the Premiership campaign.
Since then, however, Postecoglou has found some form. A 4-2 win in Jablonec was followed up with a 6-0 dismantling of Dundee. A convincing 3-0 win in the second-leg of their UEFA Europa League qualifier against Jablonec on Thursday night was their latest momentum boost.
But despite the upturn, Neilson doesn’t expect much to change from the last time they played. He did, however, identify one area of the team he thinks the Celtic boss will tinker with.
As quoted by the Scotsman, Neilson said: “They’ve got the striker Kyogo Furuhashi who has come in and given them something different. But I would expect it to be much the same team, maybe only Tom Rogic coming in for Soro with Callum McGregor dropping back.
“So there’s not a lot of change from Celtic, I wouldn’t think. They’ve got more momentum – but that’s football.
“Fifteen days ago it was a different story. You win a couple of games and it all changes. But it’s the same here. You are only as good as your last game. We have had a good start to the season, six wins on the bounce, but the game on Sunday will be the biggest challenge we have had yet.”
Celtic team to face Hearts still poses one or two questions
You can see why Neilson would think along those lines. After all, Postecoglou has been using largely the same personnel on a game-by-game basis. Despite the fact Celtic have been playing Thursday-Sunday-Thursday, plenty have had three-game weeks in their records.
However, today’s League Cup game gives Celtic the opportunity to do something a little bit different. Whilst Postecoglou will be going all out for the win, we have a massive game on Wednesday to be wary of.
AZ Alkmaar will come to Parkhead ready to spoil the feelgood momentum. It’s imperative that all of our top stars are in peak condition heading into that one. Whether the manager looks to risk them all against Hearts remains to be seen.
Of course, Neilson isn’t wrong about Soro. He hasn’t started any of Celtic’s last two games. Instead, a midfield of Callum McGregor, David Turnbull, and Tom Rogic have been doing extreme damage for the Hoops.
But Postecoglou could easily look to tweak things to keep certain players fresh. We have the likes of Soro, Albian Ajeti, Liel Abada, Odsonne Edouard etc all looking for more minutes this afternoon.
We’ll see what the manager chooses to go with. So far in his Celtic career, he’s yet to play what we would normally consider to be weakened sides.