Celtic, the Champions of Scotland, had a rare week of disappointing football since Brendan Rodgers’ appointment a couple of years ago. They got knocked out from the Champions League playoffs for the first time under the Northern Irishman following a 3-2 defeat (over two legs) against the reigning Greece Superleague winners AEK Athens. Moreover, they lost 1-0 to Hearts last weekend in a Premiership tie and are now thriving to get back to winning ways versus minnows Partick Thistle, relegated last season from the top tier, who will be hosting the Hoops on Saturday lunchtime at Firhill Stadium in the Scottish League Cup second round fixture.
The Bhoys have claimed a ‘double treble’ in past two seasons despite Rangers’ return to Premiership football but have done little business so far this window. Several injury woes, suspension and internal concerns resulted in a shocking Champions League exit on Tuesday night and the defending League Cup champions, therefore, are determined to bounce back from the low registering a thumping win versus Thistle.
Celtic will continue to miss out veteran centre-back Marvin Compper who is having an injury-riddled spell since joining the Parkhead outfit. Nir Bitton is still sidelined following a knee surgery earlier this year whereas young winger Lewis Morgan is ruled out through a knee strain. Dedryck Boyata, the wantaway defender, had a rift with the management and is not expected to be involved for the Sunday afternoon tie.
Predicted Celtic Lineup (4-2-3-1)
The former Liverpool and Swansea City gaffer has made frequent alterations to find out the best possible formation as well as team combination. Although he should not experiment much considering the current status, custodian Scott Bain might be handed a start ahead of ‘number 1’ Craig Gordon for the weekend encounter. Kristoffer Ajer, the young central defensive ace, was suspended against AEK Athens but should be reintegrated alongside Jack Hendry deep down the backline. Mikael Lustig and Kieran Tierney, the preferred fullback options, must feature down their respective right and left flanks in order to inject experience, energy and more attacking flair with overlap runs.
Skipper Scott Brown should start in central midfield alongside Olivier Ntcham, the Frenchman who is attracting interest from abroad banking on a stellar show in the middle of the park. Versatile Callum McGregor might be deployed in an attacking midfield role despite playing splendidly against AEK Athens down the left flank. Tom Rogic should be replaced by Scott Sinclair who made an immediate impact from the bench scoring late on Tuesday night and the Englishman, if handed a start, will operate from his usual left wing position. Jonny Hayes is trying his best to adapt to Celtic after a difficult first season and should start the Partick Thistle tie in place of James Forrest down the right flank.
Rodgers lined up Leigh Griffiths against the Greek giants who failed to deliver and should field club-record recruit Odsonne Edouard high up the pitch as the target forward. Moussa Dembele was introduced from the bench this midweek after missing out weeks of football through a hamstring strain and should be utilized accordingly later in the game.