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Champions Celtic will kick off the 2017/18 Scottish Premiership campaign against Heart of Midlothian FC on Saturday afternoon at the Celtic Park.
Brendan Rodgers’ side, who finished last season as treble winners and unbeaten in all domestic competitions, will be keen on starting off the new season in a similar fashion and get out of the blocks early. The Hoops come into the game after a 1-0 win over Rosenborg in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round and will want to carry the momentum from that game, into the one against the Hearts.
The biggest absentees for Rodgers are star striker Moussa Dembele and defensive mainstay Dedryck Boyata, with both missing out due to injuries. Fellow defender Erik Sviatchenko is also likely to miss out after he picked up a knee injury in the game against Rosenborg on Wednesday.
Here’s how Celtic could take the field in their season opener.
The veteran stopper is the undisputed choice between the sticks. He would want to start the new season with a clean sheet.
At right-back, Swedish international Mikael Lustig will retain his spot ahead of youngster Anthony Ralston.
With a number of injuries in the defence area, the 22-year old Croatian will have to take up the mantle of leadership at the back.
With Sviatchenko picking up an injury in the previous game, youngster Kristoffer Ajer should get the chance to make his league debut, on Saturday.
The breakthrough star of last season for the Hoops, Tierney will want to start off the new campaign on a similar note.
The captain will sit in front of the back four and hold the fort in order to allow his more attack-minded teammates to flourish.
The hero of the European tie, Forrest scored the only goal against Rosenborg. Having started as a striker in that game, he may find himself get shifted to a more familiar right wing against the Hearts.
A change in the midfield may be on the cards as Rodgers might look to give Australian Tom Rogic a go in place of Callum McGregor.
Another hero from last season, Armstrong has grown leaps and bounds under Rodgers and has established himself as a vital part of the team. Definite starter.
The left flank, as usual, will continue to be held by last season’s top scorer Scott Sinclair. The Englishman has an excellent goal-scoring record against the Hearts and he will want to keep that going come Saturday.
In absence of Dembele, leading the attack will be Leigh Griffiths. The 26-year old was passed fit for Wednesday’s game and made an appearance from the bench. May get a starting role in the weekend.