Predicted Celtic XI vs Kilmarnock: Kristoffer Ajer set to return

By John Reid

January 21, 2020

Celtic return to league action on Wednesday night with a vital match against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. The Hoops will be hoping to return to winning ways in the game, after a loss to Rangers in the last league game before the split.

The Hoops will not have it easy though. Last season Celtic struggled to win at Rugby Park, losing the first meeting between the teams 2-1 and needing a last minute Scott Brown strike to win 1-0 in the second visit to the stadium.

We expect Neil Lennon to pick a very strong side, which should be more than capable of picking up the three points, should the Hoops play the best that they can.

The team

Celtic captain Scott Brown (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

In goals, Fraser Forster will continue his run in the team. The only way he is not going to feature is if he suffers an injury, so expect him to start.

At right-back, Jeremie Frimpong will keep his place in the side, although this game will be a rest for him as he has yet to play on an artificial pitch for the Hoops. Our choice for left-back is Greg Taylor. The reason for that – he played on the Killie surface for years and will know how to approach the game.

At centre-back, Christopher Jullien will start as usual. As for who partners him, Neil Lennon revealed on Tuesday that Kristoffer Ajer has recovered from injury and is in the squad to play. That is who we predict will play. Ajer, a Hoops mainstay with 36 appearances this season will return and  the duo will rekindle their partnership.

In midfield, the usual duo of Scott Brown and Callum McGregor will start for the Hoops.

Manager will keep faith in duo

Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Further forward, we believe that the Hoops boss will keep faith with the duo who played in the more advanced roles against Partick, Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic. The duo played well in the cup tie, with Rogic in particular pulling the strings in midfield.

Up-front, the Celtic boss will stick with the strike duo Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard. The pair played well against Partick, and deserve a chance to play together once more, in what will be a much tougher test than the one at Firhill.

Should the formation not work, then the likes of Mikey Johnston or Patryk Klimala could come on to change the game. However, we believe that the predicted XI can get the job done and give Celtic the win that will kick start the second-half of the league season in style.

Here is the team we predict will start for the Hoops at Rugby Park:

Our predicted XI

Fraser Forster; Jeremie Frimpong, Christopher Jullien, Kristoffer Ajer, Greg Taylor; Scott Brown, Callum McGregor; Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic; Odsonne Edouard, Leigh Griffiths