Kyogo leads the way, potential debut: Celtic Predicted XI v Dundee

By Euan Davidson

August 6, 2021

Celtic supporters will be on a high after an away European triumph, but Dundee represent a rather different test, especially if you’re writing a Celtic Predicted XI.

The Taysiders, fresh from a promotion, are mired in some untimely managerial rumours. After a relatively promising 2-2 draw with last season’s surprise package St Mirren [BBC], they’ll be determined to build on what Hearts did last week.

Celtic, meanwhile, are building to something very entertaining indeed. Some elements of Ange-ball are coming to the fore, but defensive frailties – our old foe – remain.

Ah, but; we’re talking about a busy Celtic Park, playing at home in the league before supporters for the first time in an age. Can the Bhoys capitalise on the noise? Will we see some more of that fluid, attacking football from the Jablonec game?

Even more to the point, who’s going to play? No danger; here’s our Celtic Predicted XI to face Dundee on Sunday.

Celtic Predicted XI: a more solid foundation?

We really could talk about Celtic’s defending for weeks at a time. At least now we’ve got Joe Hart, who will be looking for an early clean sheet after a tricky debut in the Czech Republic.

FK Jablonec 2-4 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

FK Jablonec 2-4 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

Ahead of him, it’s not a Celtic Predicted XI unless we’re confused as to who’ll play centre-back. You can’t blame Ange Postecoglou for this, of course. The carousel of central defenders has spun in earnest for months.

However, we fancy Carl Starfelt and Stephen Welsh to be included. Welsh deserves the game-time, and Starfelt needs a big performance to knock off some of the rust, and get supporters onside.

We’re not talking “crisis” yet, and it’s way, way too early to even think about assessing Starfelt yet. However, it’s also fair to say that he, just like Ange and everyone else at Celtic, would feel much better for a clean sheet.

On the wings, there’s a very, very strong temptation to pick Boli Bolingoli. However, Greg Taylor has done little to convince Ange that he’s not the guy. If he’s fit, he remains the first choice.

On the right, we’d love Aurelio Buta, or Josip Juranovic. Yet, there’s a little more confidence surrounding Anthony Ralston these days, even since a few games ago.

Celtic Predicted XI: could James McCarthy start?

Despite completing a number of fixtures already, it’s probably too early to talk about squad rotation.

At a time like this, Ange Postecoglou needs to know who can stand up and be counted. Therefore, you’d expect Callum McGregor and Ismaila Soro to get the nod.

James McCarthy is being assessed for his fitness, but it feels a little premature to include him. The former Crystal Palace man has been working privately on his conditioning, but to launch him in from the start represents a potentially needless risk.

He’ll come good, for sure. Still, I think it’s more likely to see McCarthy coming off the bench.

In the number 10 role, we’re going to go with Ryan Christie. David Turnbull is no mug, and remains a brilliant player, but he just doesn’t seem quite right, somehow. Perhaps a game’s rest could help him out longer term. Christie, coming off a goalscoring cameo performance against Jablonec, suddenly seems raring to go.

In attack: why change what’s working?

The momentum seems to be with Odsonne Edouard departing sooner, rather than later. Honestly, it’d be fantastic to see him complete a magnificent stint at Celtic with a goal.

However, if he does move this week, and if that were to happen, it would probably be from the bench. The irresistible trio of James Forrest, Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada are just too hot to drop.

Between the three of them, their movement against Jablonec was sublime. Another chance to build that promising relationship up front could only be a positive, and it’d be very odd to see Postecoglou’s mind travel elsewhere.

Forrest on the left is taking some getting used to, but his ability to cut inside and shoot with either foot is worth having on either side. Abada, meanwhile, could open his Premiership account, with his direct running and – so far – excellent positioning off the ball.

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