With Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side heading into Thursday evening’s Europa League fixture knowing that nothing but a win will keep their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages alive, the 56-year-old manager must ensure he gets his team selection spot on against Ferencvarosi TC.
And, with the Hoops’ Hungarian hosts currently being on a run of three consecutive fixtures without defeat – a series of games which includes a 7-0 spanking of Tokol VSK – Postecoglou will be well aware that taking three points from the Groupama Arena will be no walk in the park.
So, will the Bhoys boss make any changes to the team which started the lacklustre 0-0 draw with Livingston last time out? Here’s how we think Celtic could line up against Ferencvarosi, along with the latest team and injury news…
With both Tom Rogic and Carl Starfelt being unavailable for Thursday evening due to injury, we predict that Postecoglou will make three changes to the side that lined up against Livingston last weekend.
The first of these alterations is a forced one in the centre of defence, with the stricken Starfelt being replaced by the highly-rated 21-year-old Stephen Welsh – who is handed his first start since September.
The remainder of the back five is unchanged, with Joe Hart starting between the Celtic sticks, Josip Juranovic and Anthony Ralston lining up at left and right-back respectively, and Cameron Carter-Vickers starting alongside Welsh at centre-back.
There is something of a reshuffle in the middle of the park, with the £14k-per-week Nir Bitton dropping to the bench, while Jota moves into a central attacking midfield role – in a bid to combat the Bhoys’ clear lack of creativity in midfield against the Lions on Saturday.
This move sees the £9k-per-week Mikey Johnston handed a start on the left of Postecoglou’s front three, while Kyogo Furuhashi returns to the XI in place of the £2.25m-rated Georgios Giakoumakis – who had something of an afternoon to forget against Livingston – with Liel Abada keeping his spot on the right.