Celtic had a stuttering start to the season with the shock exit from the UCL qualifiers and lacked any sort of rhythm. But the Hoops have turned their fortunes around in recent weeks and scripted a massively significant 1-0 win over resurgent rivals Rangers prior to the international break. They are now back on track in their chase of an eighth successive Premiership triumph and will be eyeing a win on Friday night against new boys St. Mirren to stretch their winning run.
Celtic had a dour transfer window where they lost star striker Moussa Dembele to Lyon but roped in a few new faces before the window was slammed shut.
Celtic Team News
Celtic had several significant injury absentees before the break and the likes of Jack Hendry, Lewis Morgan and Marvin Compper have returned to training but will not be involved in the match. Veteran Nir Bitton had a knee surgery earlier this year and is still weeks away before returning to action.
Predicted Celtic Lineup (4-3-3)
Custodian Craig Gordon is back from the national camp and should return between the sticks for the Friday-night encounter. The Scot has kept three consecutive clean sheets and will look to grab the fourth one tomorrow.
Celtic have been dealt with several injury blows to the backline but successfully kept hold of wantaway Dedryck Boyata who brought back stability in deep defence. He is expected to be lined up alongside young sensation Kristoffer Ajer ahead of deadline day recruit Filip Benkovic – on loan from Leicester City.
Kieran Tierney should start in his usual left-back role and will look to trouble the hosts with his overlapping runs, crosses and link-up play. Mikael Lustig, on the right, will offer much-needed balance on his flank.
Skipper Scott Brown will feature in his usual deep midfield role to break down the opposition play and retain possession as well as initiate moves from the deep. He will be marshalling the ‘back four’ and create space for Olivier Ntcham to stride forward and operate in advanced areas.
The French starlet scored the solitary goal in the Old-Firm derby and has been a massive influence in the middle of the park. Tom Rogic orchestrated the winning goal against the Light Blues following an exquisite counter-attack and his down the middle runs, one-twos and shooting traits will cause a problem for the St Mirren defence.
The Bhoys need to adjust themselves accordingly in the aftermath of Dembele’s exit and they have got quality alternatives in Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard who can lead the line. Edouard, the club-record recruit from PSG, played his part in their winner against Rangers and should be handed a run of games now on recovering from a hamstring strain.
Celtic have got young Michael Johnston as well as the veteran duo Scott Sinclair and Jonathan Hayes to operate from the flanks. However, versatile Callum McGregor has been a revelation down the left flank and should start the game along with James Forrest who assisted Ntcham’s goal versus the Gers.