Celtic will look to bank a much-needed three points this afternoon as they host Livingston in Parkhead. The reigning Premiership champions are currently watching their chances of a tenth consecutive title slip further and further away.
Rangers have all but wrapped up this season’s victory, leading the pack by an astonishing 21 points. However, Celtic mustn’t simply throw down their swords, they need to ensure they finish a turbulent season on the highest note possible.
Football FanCast has predicted how they will line up in today’s Scottish Premiership clash…
Due to a mass quarantine, both Neil Lennon and 14 of his senior players are out of action. Christopher Jullien’s positive coronavirus test has forced him and his teammates into a self-isolation period. Gavin Strachan has stepped in, in the absence of Lennon and managed to guide Celtic to a draw against Hibernian last time out.
With a thread-bare squad, a lot of the same players from earlier this week will make returns. This includes youngsters like Cameron Harper and Stephen Welsh.
The former will likely start up front again, with no senior striker available to play. The teen will be supported by Mikey Johnston – who featured on Monday – and Karamoko Dembele, who only made a cameo appearance against Hibs.
Celtic will need all the creativity they can muster up and 17-year-old Dembele could be handed his chance to impress with his first senior start.
With a weakened defence, Strachan may opt to controversially bench Callum McGregor in favour of more defensive-minded Nir Bitton. The latter has played across the back four several times this season and will help his defenders keep the threat of Livingston away from goalkeeper Conor Hazard.
The Lions are currently fifth in the table and can pose a real threat, so Celtic must not underestimate their ability. Strachan and the Bhoys will be hoping for maximum points to raise morale around camp and avoid further embarrassment this season.