Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is working hard to win over the supporters at Parkhead after a difficult start to the 2021/22 campaign.
In their first three competitive games of the season, the Hoops were knocked out of the Champions League and lost their opening Scottish Premiership match to Hearts. This meant that the Australian coach started on the back foot and has had to work hard to regain momentum.
Recent results suggest that they are now on the up, with four straight wins in all competitions. Celtic have beaten Jablonec twice, scoring seven goals, Hearts and Dundee in their last four matches. They scored 16 goals in total in that period, bringing attacking football back to Celtic Park.
However, a tough test against Eredivisie outfit AZ Alkmaar awaits them tonight as they bid to progress through to the group stages of the Europa League.
Will Postecoglou switch it up from the 3-2 win over Hearts? Here is our predicted XI for the match…
We are predicting that he will make two changes to his starting XI, with Liel Abada and Ismaila Soro coming into the team for James Forrest and Tom Rogic.
Starting with Soro, this was a tough call to make but one that could be needed. Rogic was subbed off after 75 minutes against Hearts and after 74 minutes against Jablonec in the second-leg. This suggests that the midfielder has been tiring in games, which indicates that Celtic could benefit from bringing in some fresh legs in midfield who will be able to see out the 90 minutes without breaking down.
James McCarthy made his Celtic debut against Hearts in the League Cup with a 15-minute cameo, whilst Soro has racked up 386 competitive minutes across six games this season. Therefore, he could be fresher than the £16k-per-week Australian international whilst also being more match-fit than the ex-Everton man.
The second and final change we are predicting is Abada for Forrest. We published an article urging Postecoglou to unleash the teenage attacker against Alkmaar, given his recent form for Celtic and the amount of game time Forrest has had in recent weeks.
Abada has two goals and two assists in five appearances for the Hoops this season, proving that he can provide quality at this level. Forrest, 30, meanwhile has already played 446 minutes and could benefit from a game on the sidelines. Start the youngster and allow him to strut his stuff, before potentially bringing the Scotland international on for the final 20 minutes or so to run at a tiring defence.
We are predicting the rest of the team to stay the same, as it does not make much sense to make wholesale changes to a winning side.