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No Christie, Griffiths returns: Predicted Celtic XI vs Rangers for Old Firm derby

Two of Scotland’s unbeaten sides go head-to-head this afternoon as defending champions Celtic welcome their arch-rivals to Parkhead for the lunchtime kickoff.

Usually one of the most anticipated games of the season, the Old Firm derby will be played without supporters in attendance, though the clash is nicely poised as Rangers come to town sitting top of the table.

Celtic fans, what is your prediction for the Old Firm clash?

Hoops win

Hoops win

Draw

Draw

Gers win

Gers win

Hoops boss Neil Lennon has been left with plenty of decisions to make following a detrimental international break as many of his key men will miss this match.

So here’s the line-up we’re predicting for the 421st Old Firm battle…

celtic-predicted-xi-vs-rangers-spfl-celtic-park

Celtic could be forced to make as many as four changes with both Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie – two names usually first on the team sheet – ruled out for COVID-related reasons.

The same goes for Hatem Abd Elhamed and Nir Bitton whilst James Forrest is a doubt due to injury.

It means we’re likely to see a back three of Kristoffer Ajer, Shane Duffy and Christopher Jullien who’ll sit in front of Vasilis Barkas for the first time in over a month.

Diego Laxalt may have to wait for his debut – it would be a mighty risk for Lennon to throw him into a game of this calibre straight away, so Greg Taylor keeps his place. As does Jeremie Frimpong on the other flank.

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Who scored the winning goal of the first Old Firm derby of the 21st century?

Hoops skipper Scott Brown should return to the starting XI after being rested last time out in their 5-0 drubbing of St Johnstone. He could well replace Olivier Ntcham, which means David Turnbull survives as Christie’s replacement alongside fellow Scotland international Callum McGregor.

Without Edouard, Lennon has a big call to make – Moi Elyounoussi or Leigh Griffiths? We think the 49-year-old could opt for the latter as he’s an out-and-out striker.

He will surely pair the returning Albian Ajeti in the attack.

AND in other news, Celtic chief Peter Lawwell must make £40k-p/w monster his TOP priority in 2021…

Article title: No Christie, Griffiths returns: Predicted Celtic XI vs Rangers for Old Firm derby

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