Celtic face off against Aberdeen at Parkhead today as they return to Premiership action following their loss to Bayer Leverkusen three days ago.
Ange Postecoglou’s side were left frustrated as they lost 3-2 to the German outfit in the Europa League on Thursday night, with Moussa Diaby scoring a late winner for the hosts. Goals from Josip Juranovic and Jota had put Celtic 2-1 heading into the last half an hour, but Robert Andrich and Diaby struck late for Leverkusen.
How many changes will Ange make to the Hoops team for today? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that he will make three changes from Thursday, with Liel Abada, Mikey Johnston and James McCarthy coming in.
Celtic are facing a busy period of games heading into December and they could benefit from utilising their squad depth in the coming weeks. This means that Postecoglou may need to rotate his side and make changes irrespective of individuals’ form to hand some players opportunities to impress and others a chance to have a rest and avoid burnout.
The Australian may be forced into one change, though, as Nir Bitton could miss out through injury. He said after the loss to Leverkusen: “I was a bit disappointed to see Nir come off. In terms of how he is going to be, I’m not really sure. We will assess him, but he has been pretty influential for us and did well to help set up our second goal in Germany.”
We published an article explaining why McCarthy should start, with the Irishman potentially lining up at the base of the midfield.
We also predict that Abada will line up on the right of midfield ahead of James Forrest. The 20-year-old should be handed a start, due to his ability to be a game-changer for the Hoops, with seven goals and five assists this season. He could come in and provide a spark out wide after a disappointing display from the £19k-per-week Forrest on Thursday night – as he recorded a SofaScore rating of 6.2.
Finally, Johnston could start ahead of David Turnbull in midfield. The latter might be offered a rest ahead of the busy December schedule, whilst the former could have an opportunity to show his manager that he deserves more minutes in the team. Johnston has only started once in the Premiership this season, but came off the bench against Leverkusen and created one chance in 18 minutes, showing a glimpse of what he is capable of producing when afforded the opportunity.