Predicted Celtic line-up to face Hearts in the Scottish Premiership
After Celtic’s brilliant start to the new Scottish Premiership season, they were held to a draw by a 10-man AEK Athens in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier.
Callum McGregor smashed in the opener from a tight angle in the 17th-minute, but the Greeks equalised before the break via Viktor Klonaridis’ goal.
But before the second leg against AEK Athens, the Bhoys have a trip to Hearts on Saturday. Brendan Rodgers will hope his boys get a positive result at Hearts before the decisive meeting next Tuesday in Greece, where Celtic must find the net to stand a chance of progressing towards the Champions League group stages.
Celtic received a boost ahead of the first-leg against AEK Athens when Olivier Ntcham was declared fit and the Frenchman played the entire game.
However, centre-backs Dedryck Boyata and Marvin Compper are unavailable, with the former still recovering after the World Cup campaign with Belgium and the latter down with a knee injury. Also, Moussa Dembele continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
Probable Celtic XI
Manager: Brendan Rodgers
Craig Gordon (GK)
Gordon has proven to be quite solid between the sticks for Celtic and is expected to continue in goal Saturday.
Mikael Lustig (RB)
Lustig was poor against AEK Athens but will be buoyant to put up a shift on Saturday.
Jack Hendry (CB)
Hendry was badly exposed for the goal against AEK Athens but otherwise, he is a solid defender to have in the squad.
Kristoffer Ajer (CB)
Culpable for the AEK Athens goal but needs to leave it behind and come up with the goods against Hearts.
Kieran Tierney (LB)
Considered as the best left-back in Scotland, Tierney has started this season from where he left last campaign. A definite starter at the weekend against Hearts.
Scott Brown (CDM)
The club captain just keeps on getting better with age. Strong and robust, Brown’s presence in the midfield will be vital for Celtic.
Olivier Ntcham (LCM)
Managing to recover from the Achilles injury in time, Ntcham was a class act against AEK Athens and will be hoping to continue his good form on Saturday.
Callum McGregor (RCM)
Scored a fantastic goal to underline status as a big-game player. McGregor is the player who adds creativity and impetus to Celtic’s attack. His presence in midfield will be crucial on Saturday as the Bhoys look to get all three points.
James Forrest (RW)
Forrest has done well in the new campaign so far and will be given another shot to impress at the weekend.
Tom Rogic (LW)
The Australian was on the scoresheet against Livingston and will bring creativity and guile to the table, which makes him such an important player for Rodgers.
Read more: Why Celtic re-signing £12m Premier League starlet could turn out to be a masterstroke by Rodgers
Odsonne Edouard (ST)
With Dembele out, Edouard should continue leading the attack for Celtic. The young French star will be determined to make a mark against Hearts.