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Dembele out, Ntcham starts – Strongest 4-1-4-1 Celtic XI to face AEK Athens in the UCL qualifier

Predicted Celtic line-up to face AEK Athens in Champions League qualifier

On the back of a turbulent week that included a 1-0 defeat at Hearts last week, Celtic head to AEK Athens for a crucial Champions League tie on Tuesday.

The Bhoys have it all to do against AEK Athens, who have an away goal advantage after last week’s 1-1 draw at Parkhead.

Failing to score in this game would see Celtic bow out of the Champions League without much fight, so Brendan Rodgers and co. need all the ability at their command to put up a dazzling display in the jam-packed Olympic Stadium.

Team News

Kristoffer Ajer is suspended for the second leg against AEK Athens, while Marvin Compper remains unavailable due to injury. Dedryck Boyata hasn’t travelled with the squad to Athens after refusing to play for Celtic again, reports the Scottish Sun.

Meanwhile, Moussa Dembele has travelled with the squad to Athens after returning from injury. The French striker has not played since the 3-0 home win over Alashkert in the first qualifying round of the Champions League.

Probable Celtic XI

Formation: 4-1-4-1

Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Craig Gordon (GK)

Gordon has been a reliable presence in goal for Celtic and is expected to start on Tuesday.

Mikael Lustig (RB)

In the first-leg against AEK, Lustig was defensively poor. The return leg offers him a chance to redeem himself and guide Celtic past the Greek opponents.

Jack Hendry (CB)

Hendry has been a solid player in the squad but has the habit of getting caught out of position.

Jozo Simunovic (CB)

If there’s one player who needs this game most, it is Jozo Simunovic. After his atrocious mistake that led to Hearts’ goal, he would be desperate to make up for it against AEK.

Kieran Tierney (LB)

As always, Tierney is excellent going forward but needs to be extra careful defensively.

Scott Brown (CDM)

Brown will have an important role to play on Tuesday. The skipper will have to take control of the game from minute one if Celtic are to get a positive result.

Oliver Ntcham

Olivier Ntcham (LCM)

Ntcham will be fresh after not featuring in the 1-0 defeat to Hearts. The Frenchman is a vital player for the Bhoys and will need to come up with the goods on Tuesday.

Callum McGregor (RCM)

McGregor is the player who adds creativity and unpredictability to Celtic’s attack. His presence in midfield will be crucial in Athens if Celtic are to return home all smiles.

Tom Rogic (RM)

Rogic has been excellent so far in the new season and deserves to start the European tie against AEK.

Scott Sinclair

Scott Sinclair (LM)

Sinclair’s presence in the attack will be a must as he keeps the ability to terrorise opposition defenders with his explosive pace and trickery. He is a nippy attacker whose movement and deliveries from the left can cause all sorts of problems for AEK.

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Odsonne Edouard (ST)

While Dembele has travelled with the squad, it is unlikely to see Rodgers put him straight into action for such an important game. That means Edouard could continue leading the attack for the Scottish champions.