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Celtic welcome rivals Rangers to Celtic Park this weekend for their latest Scottish Premiership clash. The Bhoys are running away with the league this season, having stayed unbeaten for 27 games (26 wins, 1 draw) and are a whopping 27 points clear of second-placed Aberdeen and 33 above the Gers.
The Premiership title is already in the bag for Celtic, but they will be desperate for a win on Sunday over their fiercest rivals. Brendan Rodgers’ men have put Rangers to the sword on three occasions already this season and will be hoping to keep the upper hand with another clash coming against the Gers in the Scottish Cup semi-finals next month.
Winger James Forrest who had missed the last two games for Celtic is fit again and back into contention. Manchester City loanee Patrick Roberts has returned to full fitness and had a good comeback against St. Mirren last weekend. Meanwhile, Australian Tom Rogic remains a long-term absentee as he continues his recovery from an ankle surgery.
The 34-year old has had a season to remember for Celtic so far. Having conceded only eleven goals, he should continue in the goal for Sunday’s crucial encounter.
In the right-back position, it will be Mikael Lustig. The Swedish international scored the opener for the Bhoys against St. Mirren in the cup tie last weekend and will be high on confidence coming into the game.
At the centre of the defence, we expect a return to the playing XI for Simunovic. The 22-year old was left out last weekend in the favour of Dedryck Boyata but should start against Rangers.
Partnering Simunovic in the heart of the defence will be Erik Sviatchenko. The 25-year old has established himself as a mainstay for Celtic this season and will be a crucial figure on Sunday.
Completing the backline will be the young Kieran Tierney. The 19-year old left-back has become a star this season and is the preferred choice ahead of Emilio Izaguirre.
The 25-year old Israeli international will hold on to his place in the middle of the park. He will be tasked with shielding his defence.
Partnering Bitton will be club captain Scott Brown. The 31-year old has been an ever-present in the midfield for Celtic and there is no reason for that to stop.
On the right-flank, we could see the young and enterprising Patrick Roberts return the starting XI. Made an appearance from the bench last weekend, following his return from injury and with concerns over James Forrest’s fitness, the 20-year old should feature from the kick-off.
We expect the 24-year old Stuart Armstrong to feature through the centre of the attacking trio. The Scotsman has scored 9 times this season and has assisted 6 more goals and deserves his place in the starting line-up.
On the opposite flank, we will see the pacey Scott Sinclair. The 27-year old is the Bhoys’ second highest goalscorer in the Premiership this season, with 15 strikes and is a certain starter.
Leading the line will be the sensational Moussa Dembele. The 20-year old has set the Premiership on fire following his summer arrival and it is impossible to see him sit out of such a huge clash.