If there’s one thing a predicted XI needs, it’s a good piece of boldness. That’s why for tomorrow night we’re going to go for a big return.
Celtic host Valencia in the most glamorous game of our season so far. Forget Leipzig and Salzburg, this is as great and glorious as it gets this term.
But in order for the Hoops to actually get one over on the La Liga giants, it’ll need a spot-on team selection.
There won’t be many twists, but we’ve got one up our sleeves that we feel Brendan Rodgers may very well go for.
But it won’t be in goal. Scott Bain has to start after keeping clean sheets in every single one of his last 12 matches for the Hoops. He’ll be tested more than he has been against anyone this season, and we’re about to find out how good he truly is.
Jeremy Toljan will also make his European bow for Celtic no doubt. This was the kind of game he was signed for, with Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer our predicted centre-back partnership.
But down the left, this is where our wild-card comes in. Rodgers has reportedly given Kieran Tierney a deadline of today to declare himself fit. Emilio Izaguirre is also an injury doubt after being stretchered off against Hibs last week.
Tierney in and Hayes out
Given Tierney is apparently desperate to return for this one, we’re going to say that’s exactly what happens. His big return will be tomorrow night in our view, and we’ll see just how match-fit he truly is.
Scott Brown and Callum McGregor, of course, occupy the two central midfield slots. With James Forrest and Scott Sinclair the first-choice wingers this season, they’ll undoubtedly start too.
Ryan Christie has had some terrific performances in big games for Celtic this season. Expect him to have another stormer against Valencia on Thursday night in the number 10 position.
Of course, there’s only one man who can be selected up top tomorrow night.
Oliver Burke has been in exceptional form. He has three goals in his six Celtic outings so far. Against St Johnstone, however, he was by far the most impressive player on the pitch. That has to be rewarded, and it surely will be by Rodgers.
Expect the likes of Odsonne Edouard, Nir Bitton, and Timothy Weah to come off the bench if need be. Rodgers certainly has impact subs at his disposal.
But the news of the night, for us, will be the fact that Tierney is back in the team for the big one. Will it happen after this prediction? No doubt it won’t!
Here’s that starting XI again in list form: