Win at all costs. That will be the message Neil Lennon sends his players out with when Celtic face Rangers this afternoon.
The Hoops are a mighty 16 points off their rivals and a defeat today will surely banish any chances of retaining the SPFL title.
It has been a torrid season to date but if they can secure victory over Rangers, the positivity it will bring will be enormous.
The Scottish Cup win over Hearts lifted a weight off Lennon’s shoulders and three points here would take even more pressure away from their manager.
Thus, he will need to get his team selection spot on and in our predicted XI, we’re tipping the Northern Irishman to make four changes from the side that defeated Dundee United in midweek.
The first change to note is that we reckon Lennon should switch formation. It’s only a slight one but in order to combat Rangers’ attacking threat, we want to see a midfield two operated.
That means that Scott Brown comes back into the XI. We’ve already explained our thought process behind this and why he’d add some extra bite to the side in a hotly contested fixture.
Alongside Ismaila Soro, someone who has rejuvenated the Celtic team, they could create a mean layer of protection in front of the defence.
Speaking of the back four, we’re tipping two changes to be made there. Diego Laxalt was poor in midweek and as a result, he is dropped to the bench. Christopher Jullien also misses out in place of Nir Bitton, someone who took the plaudits after the Hoops beat Hamilton.
With Brown coming into the side, we think that Callum McGregor will sit out. It’s not often that happens but in terms of the balance of the team, it makes sense.
The final replacement is in goal where Conor Hazard returns in place of Vasilis Barkas. The Greek didn’t concede against Dundee but he’s not exactly the first choice at the moment.