Celtic will face an important Europa League last 32 tie against Valencia tonight at Parkhead.

It’s a mammoth task made harder with first choice left-back Kieran Tierney out injured.

The debate is now surrounding whether to play returning Emilio Izaguirre or winger by trade Jonny Hayes in his place.

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However, there is one more option that hasn’t been considered – three at the back.

Move will be surprise to Valencia

Marcelino’s side will be expecting Celtic’s familiar shape when it comes to tonight’s massive tie.

Valencia coach Marcelino will expect four at the back. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

The Hoops have been playing with four in defence with great success so far this year, conceding zero.

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Valencia have very dangerous wide players in Gonçalo Guedes and Denis Cheryshev who will be expecting to come up against Jeremy Toljan and Hayes or Izaguirre.

Brendan Rodgers can surprise everyone by playing Toljan at right wing-back and have Hayes or even Scott Sinclair on the other side.


This will mean shoehorning in three centre-backs, creating tighter space inside Celtic’s box and making it harder for Valencia to play their signature weighted passes or ping the ball around the 18-yard box.

Kevin Gameiro is Valencia’s one to watch tonight on the ground or in the air. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Additionally, a lot of the Bats’ goals come from headers which can be neutralised with three tall centre-backs who are strong in the air.

Move gives Celtic ammunition in attack

Depending on personnel, having three at the back will allow more attacking players.

Hayes would excel in this position having moonlighted as a left-back and wing-back this season.

Jonny Hayes is a possible choice in the left of defence. (photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

If Sinclair was to drop back, then the likes of Timothy Weah can play ahead of him.

Counter-attacking may be key to the Hoops’ success tonight and 3-5-2 will allow for that.

Even if Rodgers doesn’t decide to start with this, it will be something to ponder over if the match isn’t going his way.

The Hoops are a strong outfit at home and must show this tonight to get the furthest they’ve ever been in the Europa League.

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