Celtic must have built up a week of pent-up frustration ahead of Dundee away.
After all, the Hoops will have had eight days to chew on the frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Aberdeen. It was a huge chance to potentially go 10 points clear at the top of the table. Instead, however, it remains at eight.
To be fair, the gap is hardly a disaster as it is either. The Hoops had been on a run of 11 consecutive domestic victories in a row. They were entitled to at least a draw somewhere down the line, and Aberdeen deserved their point.
But Celtic can’t afford to make it two consecutive matches without a win. That would rock the confidence massively, and that makes the trip to Dens Park extremely important on Sunday.
So who will be in our final team before the international break? Let’s take a look at our predicted XI stab for this week.
Scott Bain will be delighted at the news of Allan McGregor’s retirement from international football. He’s already usurped Scotland’s number two, Craig Gordon, as the Celtic number one. Therefore, he must be considered the new Scotland number one too. Regardless, he should start on Sunday against his old club.
Neil Lennon has tinkered with Mikael Lustig and Jeremy Toljan in his first three matches. We’re going to go for a return to the side for Lustig this Sunday. Beside him will be the defensive partnership of Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer. At left-back, we’re going for Kieran Tierney in perhaps the most obvious shout of the lot.
Scott Brown and Nir Bitton were far too pedestrian on Saturday. Lennon even admitted the play was too slow, and it stemmed from their partnership.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many other midfield options outside of the duo. Callum McGregor may be back in the Scotland squad for next week, but it’s not certain whether he’ll start on Sunday. For now, we’ll play safe and go with Brown and Bitton.
This may be unpopular, so apologies to any fellow Celts offended by this. James Forrest, however, has been poor for a while now in my opinion.
Celtic aren’t getting enough from him down the right, and he hasn’t stepped up enough when the chips have been down (Ibrox, Aberdeen, Valencia).
This prediction is more of a hopeful one than anything, but Oliver Burke deserves a chance in his natural position. We’re going to include him in this week’s XI, but down the right in a major tactical shuffle. Lennon, however, brought Forrest into the Celtic squad back in 2010, and is probably still likely to select him.
Ewan Henderson was quiet against Aberdeen, but so were many. He was tidy enough on the ball, and merits another game on Sunday considering Tom Rogic isn’t back yet. We’ll go for him in the number 10.
It’s highly unlikely Lennon drops BOTH Forrest and Scott Sinclair. Therefore, Sinclair gets in our predicted XI this week despite being hooked at half-time against the Dons.
Mikey Johnston didn’t do enough to earn Sinclair’s place permanently last Saturday, but did show more positive flashes. He could make another sub appearance.
Up top, it’s time to stop messing around. Odsonne Edouard cost £9million and is the club’s top goalscorer this term with 17 goals. He scored the last time at Dens Park, and will likely do so again if he plays. For us, we’re putting him in there.
Here’s our full predicted XI in list form:
GK – Scott Bain
RB – Mikael Lustig
CB – Dedryck Boyata
CB – Kristoffer Ajer
LB – Kieran Tierney
CM – Scott Brown
CM – Nir Bitton
RM – Oliver Burke
CAM – Ewan Henderson
LM – Scott Sinclair
ST – Odsonne Edouard