Predicted Celtic XI vs St Mirren; Lennon to try and inject excitement again

By David Walton

January 29, 2021

The season certainly feels like it’s become a grind as we give our predicted Celtic XI vs St Mirren.

Wednesday night’s 2-0 win against Hamilton kept us to within 23 points of Rangers at the top of the Premiership. Oh but we’ve three games in-hand mind.

None of it really matters in terms of the title race. It’s all but over and they won’t drop the points needed for us to take advantage. And even though a win is a win, the Hamilton game just felt like nothing more than a glorified pre-season friendly.

Now, it’s just about trying to get a bit of pride and momentum back. The Hamilton win barely did anything to help that. Three points against St Mirren at Parkhead won’t be a major stride forward either. But it’s winning at the end of the day, and only via those can Celtic turn the mood around.

Here, we give it a go with our predicted XI as Neil Lennon continues to try and reclaim the respect of the Celtic support:

Lennon’s decision to drop Vasilis Barkas for Scott Bain on Wednesday was certainly controversial. The fans weren’t keen on it, but Lennon effectively stated he hadn’t been impressed enough with the Greek stopper [Daily Record]. Bain will therefore keep his place tonight.

Kris Ajer will again be the right-back as part of a defensive four. He’s more suited to his natural centre-back position, but he’s proven he has no problem covering on the right side when needed. Given Jeremie Frimpong’s recent departure, it’s a more than a necessary tweak.

Celtic to use width to stretch St Mirren

Down the other flank, Greg Taylor will again be chosen over the previously favoured Diego Laxalt. Taylor is building some individual momentum of his own after impressing supporters against Hamilton. These are huge matches for him in particular, and he’ll need to continue impressing to keep the Uruguayan Laxalt out the team.

At centre-back, and we’re sorry to say, we think Lennon will persist with Shane Duffy and Nir Bitton. This hasn’t reaped many rewards for Celtic, but the manager may feel it’s needs must. For me, Stephen Welsh more than deserves his opportunity, but I don’t think it’s coming tomorrow.

One thing Lennon won’t change is the diamond system, but the personnel may be tinkered with ever so slightly.

Celtic attacker Ryan Christie (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Christie in, Moi out

Nope, don’t worry, it’s not going to be Ismaila Soro who loses his spot. He’ll continue to operate at its deepest point with David Turnbull taking the attacking-midfield role.

Callum McGregor was another to shine against Hamilton. He’ll once again start on the left point and help link-up with Taylor.

On the other side, expect Ryan Christie to come in for Mohamed Elyounoussi. Moi was quiet against Hamilton after previously netting against Livingston. I would be surprised to see him start again so soon, especially with Christie waiting in the wings.

Unsurprisingly then, my front two are Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths. Some may say it’s worth only playing players who will be here next season. But Lennon will be far too occupied with trying to get a strong run of momentum under his belt. He’ll stick with his favoured strike pairing.

Hopefully, we can get another win under our belt and at least try to bring some respectability back to those joke of a season. Another nice routine fixture awaits, let’s see if we can make it turn out that way.

In other news, Celtic must hold talks with a reportedly unsettled star.