Predicted Celtic XI vs CFR Cluj (A)

By David Walton

August 6, 2019

The Celtic team against Cluj on Wednesday night could very well see Neil Lennon offer up little shocks.

It’s fair to say that throughout the summer, Lenny has tended to surprise on occasion. Opportunities have been aplenty for men such as Lewis Morgan and Scott Sinclair. Leigh Griffiths, meanwhile, has been playing regularly despite only being 80% fit according to the player himself (Scottish Sun).

Neil Lennon has surprised with some of his selections this summer (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

But don’t expect any real surprises when Celtic rock up in Cluj. This should be an XI that picks itself, and the Celtic team against Cluj should have the usuals in place.

So let’s have a look at who Lennon is most likely to go with in Romania.

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The team

Scott Bain is starting to find his groove once again in terms of his clean sheets. He’s managed back-to-back shutouts at Celtic Park, despite having next to nothing to do against both Nomme Kalju and St Johnstone respectively. He’ll likely be worked a tad in Romania, however, so the former Dundee man must be wary.

Hatem Abd Elhamed continues to be a concern with a dead leg (Celtic TV). Lennon will hopefully confirm his availability at his press conference. If he’s fit, he’ll play – that much seems certain.

Last Saturday’s 7-0 destruction of St Johnstone would’ve been a nice contest for Christopher Jullien to make his Premiership debut. For us, he’ll be the only change this week, as we expect him to replace Nir Bitton and partner Kristoffer Ajer.

Could Christopher Jullien partner Kristoffer Ajer on Wednesday night? (Manuel Blondeau/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

All of a sudden, opinion appears to be changing over Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo. His form has definitely improved both offensively and defensively. Against Saints, he was a key figure in keeping our foot on the throats. Wednesday is a big night for him.

Callum McGregor and Scott Brown bossed Saints with ease. With Emmanuel Culio missing for the Romanians (DigiSport), it will hopefully allow us to assert ourselves as the dominant force. Both in our midfield duo will be central to that.

If there’s one player who’s perhaps struggling for some confidence, it’s James Forrest. He snatched at too many chances against Saints last weekend, and desperately needs his first goal of the season. Forrest’s ball control and dribbling ability still offers Celtic so much, however, so he’s highly likely to start.

James Forrest could do with his first goal of the season on Wednesday night (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The man of the moment, Ryan Christie, is the man we’ll look to for inspiration. He’s on fire, and already has six goals in competitive action this term. Good luck getting back into this side Tom Rogic. Christie, meanwhile, will be confident of continuing his good form against Cluj.

Mikey Johnston is another cert to start down the left. Is there a more in-form winger in the country at the moment? The speed of Johnston’s footwork is tremendous. He adds another element of flair to us this season, and deserves his chance against Cluj.

Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths are both off the mark in Europe and domestically. The pair both have two goals each, but Edouard remains the number one striker for now. We’ll go with him to start up top and Griff to make another big impact off the bench.

Below, you can read our team in list form:

GK – Scott Bain

RB – Hatem Abd Elhamed

CB – Christopher Jullien

CB – Kristoffer Ajer

LB – Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo

CM – Scott Brown

CM – Callum McGregor

RM – James Forrest

CAM – Ryan Christie

LM – Mikey Johnston

ST – Odsonne Edouard