Celtic Team News: Predicted XI to face Hearts after squad update emerges

  • John  Reid
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou with striker Odsonne Edouard

Jo Hendry has delivered some team news ahead of Celtic's Scottish Premiership clash with Hearts on Saturday.

Which Celtic players are available to face Hearts?

The Go Football Show reporter was covering the Hoops' Friday afternoon press conference, where recent signing Carl Starfelt declared himself available for selection for the trip to Tynecastle.

It was also confirmed that Kyogo Furuhashi is still in quarantine and will miss the game, while Leigh Griffiths remains out with a calf injury. 

Who will start in defence?

The Hoops manager doesn't have a lot of options available for the game. Aside from Starfelt and Nir Bitton, who returns from suspension, it will likely be the same squad which lost 2-1 against Midtjylland in midweek.

In goal, Scott Bain should get the nod. Even though he failed to keep a clean sheet against Midtjylland, for continuity's sake he seems more likely to start than Vasilis Barkas.

Right-back Anthony Ralston had one of his best games for Celtic in Denmark. Ralston was given a rating of 7/10 by the Evening Times, and was described as 'solid'.

It was only Ralston's third Celtic appearance of 2021, and he didn't let the side down. He seems a certain pick for Postecoglou.

At left-back, expect Greg Taylor keep his place, due to lack of genuine competition more than anything else. 

Centre-back will be interesting, as Starfelt looks set to be handed his debut. We predict Dane Murray will start alongside the Swede. Murray might only be 18 years old, but he was arguably Celtic's best defender against Midtjylland.

He was very calm in his first ever senior start, and was given a 7/10 performance rating by the Scottish Sun - the highest rating a Celtic defender was given by the site. 

Who will start in midfield?

Midfield will likely be a key area at Tynecastle. It will be important that Celtic take control of the middle of the park to stop Hearts from getting a foothold in the game. Due to lack of alternatives more than anything, Postecoglou will likely start with the midfield trio that featured in the Champions League qualifier second leg. 

That three consisted of captain Callum McGregor - who scored possibly the best goal of his career against Midtjylland - David Turnbull, who came close to a goal in midweek with a shot tipped over the bar, and Ismaila Soro, in what could be a feisty midfield battle.

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Who will start in attack?

Further forward, Ryan Christie is the obvious choice on the left wing with Furuhashi yet to be available for selection and Mikey Johnston yet to be involved this season.

There are options on the right-wing though and Postecoglou will need to choose between James Forrest and Liel Abada. Even though Forrest missed a great chance against Midtjylland, he showed enough to get the nod over new signing Abada, who is still just a teenager. 

As for the main striker spot, Odsonne Edouard seems likely to start. Despite an indifferent display in midweek and uncertainty over his future with the Frenchman's contract winding down, he is still Celtic's best bet for a goal. He netted 16 times in the top flight last season.

Celtic's Predicted XI vs Hearts

The predicted XI, which will play in a 4-3-3 formation, is:

Bain; Ralston, Murray, Starfelt, Taylor; McGregor, Soro, Turnbull; Forrest, Edouard, Christie

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