Predicted Celtic XI vs Rangers (A)

By David Walton

December 28, 2018

It’s going to be one of the most interesting line-ups of the season, but here we take a stab with a predicted Celtic XI to face Rangers.

It’s going to be a cauldron of noise at Ibrox. Only around 800 Celtic fans are allowed to make the journey after the tickt fiasco.

Therefore, it’s going to take balls of steel and ice-cold nevers in what will be a venomous atmosphere for the Celtic players. Brendan Rodgers will have to play his own part with his team selection.

If the wrong team is chosen, it could lead to an extremely shaky performance down the other side of Glasgow. But if Rodgers gets this one spot on, Celtic should domiante their way to victory.

And it will start with the decision to play Craig Gordon in goal. The Hoops number one is having a shaky few weeks. With Scott Bain coming in against Dundee and impressing, combined with Gordon’s failure to look confident on the ball, his place is becoming a tad competitive. Regardless, he will definitely start on Saturday.

Craig Gordon needs to start performing more consistently (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The recent renaissance of Anthony Ralston won’t continue at Ibrox. Instead, Mikael Lustig will look to shrug off his penalty concession at Pittodrie.

Beside the Swede, you’ll see Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic. They’ll need to be Celtic’s rocks at Ibrox, and therefore need to make sure they don’t get into any mind-games with Alfredo Morelos.

The left-back problem

The big question mark is down the left-side. Kieran Tierney is now a strong doubt to miss the game against Rangers. Meanwhile, Emilio Izaguirre is struggling to perform consistently this season as reliable cover.

Jonny Hayes was given a 45-minute runout at Pittodrie, and subsequently did well. Rodgers has already hinted that he may feature at Ibrox, and that’s going to be our prediction for the left-back slot.

Jonny Hayes looks set for his big chance at Ibrox (Andy Buchanan)

Scott Brown will keep his place in the midfield, alongside Callum McGregor. The pair have bossed Rangers in the past, and will fancy doing it again.

James Forrest down the right picks himself, as does hat-trick hero Scott Sinclair.

Who, however, is going to replace Tom Rogic? The likelihood is that Ryan Christie advances and plays in-behind Odsonne Edouard. Can he prove to be the man Celtic need in Rogic’s absence? There’s no reason to believe he can’t.

Below is our full predicted XI in list form:

GK – Craig Gordon

RB – Mikael Lustig

CB – Filip Benkovic

CB – Dedryck Boyata

LB – Jonny Hayes

CDM – Scott Brown

CDM – Callum McGregor

RM – James Forrest

CAM – Ryan Christie

LM – Scott Sinclair

ST – Odsonne Edouard