In the first action since encountering a heartbreaking loss to CFR Cluj in Tuesday’s match, Celtic will want to make an impression with the fans. Neil Lennon will have to juggle the calls for a strong starting XI off the heels of a devastating loss, and the need to rest key players for the following match against AIK.
It will be safe to assume that Celtic boss Neil Lennon is going to go with a very traditional starting XI this weekend after his mistake of fielding a more than questionable lineup against Cluj. However, Scott Bain is out for at least one match, and other notable players will need to be rested in order to be fresh for the tie with AIK.
Craig Gordon will almost certainly get the start as goalkeeper on Saturday against Dunfermline. With Scott Bain sidelined with a hand injury, the veteran will be relied upon to be a solid veteran presence on Saturday. Many fans have called for Gordon to see the pitch after watching Bain’s poor performance on Tuesday.
Right-back is another easy call for Saturday’s starting XI. Hatem Abd Elhamed performed well on Tuesday, especially during the second half. Elhamed will be need to be rested ahead of the AIK tie after playing 90-minutes on Tuesday. Christopher Jullien will get the nod to take over the position on Saturday. Again, fans have been calling to see more of Jullien, and they should get their wish against Dunfermline.
In the middle will be a partnership of Kristoffer AJer and Nir Bitton. Ajer has been wonderful of late for Celtic on the defensive side of the pitch. Neil Lennon will not take too many liberties with the defence this weekend. Bitton did not see action in Tuesday’s match against Cluj. He is fresh and is a good bet to take the pitch Saturday.
Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo will should see his return to left-back on Saturday. Lennon sent a strong message to Boli when he sat him on the bench for the all-important matchup with Cluj. Boli should get the chance to redeem himself while also building confidence against the Championship side.
Scott Brown will want to redeem himself after his handball debacle on Tuesday. We do not foresee the captain sitting out of this one. Despite the want to rest key players, some firepower will be needed for Saturday. Olivier Ntcham may join Brown in the mid-field.
Keeping with the want for star power in the lineup, Ryan Christie could take the start. The young star has been a catalyst for good happenings for this club in the last few games. We believe he will get the start, and if things go well early look to see him rested later in the match.
Marian Shved without a doubt has to take the pitch with the starting XI as right-winger. There is never a better time than now to see how Shved performs while also resting Forrest.
Lewis Morgan has had a rough go of it lately. Morgan will want to take the pitch as left-winger while he searches for confidence against Dunfermline.
Finally, Leigh Griffiths will get the start while allowing Odsonne Edouard the opportunity to rest. Leigh Griffiths was not utilized heavily in Tuesday’s match against CFR Cluj despite seeing a renaissance of his career to start this season.
GK: Craig Gordon
RB: Christopher Jullien
CB: Kristoffer AJer
CB: Nir Bitton
LB: Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo
CM: Scott Brown
CM: Olivier Ntcham
CAM: Ryan Christie
RW: Marian Shved
LW: Lewis Morgan
ST: Leigh Griffiths