Dembele Or Griffiths At Front? Strongest Celtic XI To Face Rangers

Predicted Celtic XI vs Rangers

Despite the entire media attention this week being diverted towards the box-office New Year’s Eve clash against Rangers, Celtic completed the job at hand with a 2-0 win against Ross County yesterday. The Hoops travel to the Ibrox on New Year’s Eve aiming to make it three wins from three fixtures against their bitter rivals this season.


With Celtic maintaining a defiant 16-point lead over Rangers, the result would not hold much significance in the title race. But it goes without saying that this is one fixture the fans of neither clubs want to lose with bragging rights on the line.

Team News: Brendan Rodgers is expected to name a strong starting line-up for this clash when he made his intentions clear that Celtic were going to the enemy territory for a win. Tom Rogic, who was in with a shout for this match, has still not recovered and has been ruled out. Kieran Tiernay remains the other absentee.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Craig Gordon

There isn’t even a scope for debate here. Celtic’s custodian and Brendan’s preferred No.1 behind the sticks. Made an excellent flying save late on in the last game to earn yet another clean sheet.

Mikael Lustig

Has been deployed as a centre-back a fair few times this season, but returned back to his natural right-back spot against Ross County to produce another reliable showing.

Erik Sviatchenko

The 25-year old Danish centre-back has been a rock at the heart of the defence and even popped up with a goal from long range on Wednesday night!

Jozo Simunovic

Rested against Hamilton, Simunovic returned for the mid-week clash and completed the task in hand with minimum fuss. His partnership alongside Sviatchenko continues to blossom.

Emilio Izaguirre

The Honduran left-back did what he does best against Ross County. A thankless shift up and down on the flank delivering a fair share of dangerous crosses into the box. Some may expect him to be dropped with Rodgers opting for a 3-5-2, but very slim chance of that risk being taken for such a big clash.

Scott Brown

The skipper is enjoying probably his best season to date under Rodgers and was at his usual best against the Staggies patrolling the midfield.

Stuart Armstrong

Another player who has grown leaps and bounds under Brendan. He continues to perform admirably in a midfield partnership alongside skipper Scott Brown. Scored another goal to add to his ever increasing tally.

James Forrest

Returned to the starting lineup for the first time since returning from injury and never looked out of sorts. Taken off around the 70th minute to give rest ahead of the trip to Ibrox.

Patrick Roberts

Could be a toss up between Roberts and McGregor for the No. 10 role, but Brendan could prefer the Manchester City loanee. In the absence of Tom Rogic, Brendan has often used Patrick Roberts in that position in a rotating three alongside Sinclair and Forrest. The results haven’t been too shabby either!

Scott Sinclair 

Moved to Scotland and started life with a bang there before an injury derailed his campaign slightly, but he has started from just where he left off since returning. A sure shot starter.

Moussa Dembele

While Griffiths has performed admirably in the last few games and despite Dembele lacking in confidence, the Frenchman is in all likeliness expected to be Rodgers’ preferred choice up front.

Flash Back

Written by Mrinal Narang

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