Predicted Celtic XI vs Rangers: Edouard, Bolingoli and Elyounoussi all return

By Hamish Carton

December 7, 2019

Celtic will go for a tenth successive domestic trophy tomorrow when we face Rangers at Hampden Park. Neil Lennon’s men have been almost faultless so far this season with just two defeats in 31 matches.

We sit top of the league by a couple of points and have already won a tough Europa League group, so the Betfred Cup showpiece gives us the perfect chance to continue our wonderful start to the season. And we can rub our rivals’ noses in it at the same time. What’s not to love?

We’re expecting a Celtic victory and a strong side to be fielded. Here’s our predicted XI for ‘the big one’.

We’re back at full strength

We’ve had to soldier on without a number of our key players in recent weeks. It’s hardly mattered as we’ve continued our long winning run that now stretches to 11 games. But three key men are likely to return to Lennon’s team for the clash against Rangers, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

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Fraser Forster will continue in goal after another strong showing in midweek while the defence should be made up of Jeremie Frimpong, Kristoffer Ajer, Christopher Jullien and Boli Bolingoli. The latter hasn’t played since the semi-final victory over Hibernian last month but he’s undoubtedly our best option – given that Greg Taylor is cup-tied for the match.

It’ll be a big afternoon for Frimpong but the Dutchman has already proven that he can deal with the big occasions. He’s excelled at Pittodrie and at Hampden already so another solid performance could be on.

The central-midfield will be made up of Callum McGregor and midweek matchwinner Scott Brown. The pair will be set with the key task of winning the midfield battle just like they did at Ibrox in September, while Ryan Christie should hopefully return to a more central attacking role given our increased options at the top end of the pitch.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

James Forrest should also return to his favoured right hand side while Lennon’s biggest decision could be on the left-wing. We expect him to go for the experience of Mohamed Elyounoussi although don’t be totally surprised if Mikey Johnston gets the nod.

And up front we should see the return of our talisman Odsonne Edouard. The Frenchman is so often the man for the big occasion and hopefully he can live up to that tag again. He’ll be itching to get going after missing our last three matches.

Our predicted XI

Fraser Forster; Jeremie Frimpong, Christopher Jullien, Kristoffer Ajer, Boli Bolingoli; Scott Brown, Callum McGregor; James Forrest, Ryan Christie, Mohamed Elyounoussi; Odsonne Edouard