Celtic returns to Scottish Premier League action on Sunday when the club is set to host Hearts. With the fate of the Europa League Group Stage in the balance later in the week, skipper Neil Lennon may choose to rest key starters in order to ensure they are fresh ahead of the tie against AIK.
Celtic’s most recent match against AIK showed that there is not much leeway when it comes to the defensive lineup. Hatem Abd Elhamed may still be injured, and even if healthy will most likely rest out of an abundance of caution. However, the offence has numerous players that could easily be apart of a “plug and play” type of system. With any luck, some youngsters will get the start while the more veteran players get some rest in order to be prepared for AIK later in the week.
GK: Fraser Forster
With Scott Bain still sidelined, and Craig Gordon getting the last start, it would only make sense to introduce the returning goalkeeper with a lower pressure situation against Hearts. Sunday’s match will help determine what type of former Forster is truly in with the stakes of having a bad performance quite low.
RB: Kristoffer Ajer
Not much with the defence will change from Thursday’s match considering the depth is nearly nonexistent with the defence. AJer has proved to be incredibly capable at the right-back position and should see a return to the position with Elhamed most likely being rested for a second straight match.
CB: Nir Bitton
Bitton was our prediction for centre-back in the match against AIK but gave way to Jozo Simunovic. Here is still a safe bet to make the start on Sunday with the stakes being lowered in order to see how he performs ahead of AIK.
CB: Christopher Jullien
The new signing has done well in his short time with Celtic. Jullien has performed well and continues to improve as the season progresses. He is a safe bet to start on Sunday.
LB: Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo
Boli has had a rough go of it to start this early season. However, his performance against AIK should have restored some trust with Celtic boss Neil Lennon for the left-back. With few other options at the position, and Lennon wanting to see continued improvement, Boli is a near lock to start on Sunday.