I know I’m going to feel differently about this tomorrow, when the events at Ibrox will feel absurdly important, but they are not. They are only fractionally as important as what will happen in Brussels on Wednesday evening. I could make a good argument that they are not as important as what happened at Dens Park two days ago.
With that in mind, it will not have escaped your attention that Jozo Simunovic is struggling with a persistent knee issue at the moment. He is fit enough to play at Ibrox, but if we only know for sure that he has one 90 minutes in him this week, Brendan should save him for Anderlecht.
Dedryck Boyata is injury free, but needs game time. I would start him tomorrow, alongside either Mikael Lustig or Nir Bitton (Anthony Ralston strikes me as being built for these games, and will be more than able to play at right back).
We are in the fortunate position of having to choose between two strikers who appear to relish smacking the ball behind a Newco keeper. In making his striker selection decision, the principle question Brendan should ponder, is who he will play in that position against Anderlecht. My hunch is that Moussa is more suited to what I expect will be a counter-attacking away game in Europe, so I’d give Leigh the nod tomorrow. Let Moussa continue to ramp up his training schedule through the weekend.
Scott Sinclair will play on the left, but what a choice on the right: Patrick Roberts or James Forrest. Either should be able to destroy Newco on the flank. Both are in delicious form. My hunch is that Patrick will play for the first hour.
Scott Brown is a stick-on certainty to start, but what to do elsewhere? Perm any two from Olivier Ntcham, Callum McGregor, Stuart Armstrong and Tom Rogic.
Olivier often gets the nod for the slot alongside Scott, but Callum, Stuart and Tom are each so effective at putting Newco to the sword. I would start Tom behind the striker, and rest Olivier for this one, but I cannot decide on Callum or Stuart.
Have you ever known a Celtic team with good options in so many positions? Me neither. We can afford to force a high-intensity game, then make changes without weakening the team. The major viable risk comes from referee Craig Thomson, who has performed very poorly at previous Celtic visits to Ibrox.
Yesterday was a wipe-out for me. I didn’t have time to explore those historically great financials. Maybe later. I know we’re a day late, but they are worth it.
‘YOU’RE NOT RANGERS ANYMORE,’ ROCK STAR PAUL GALLAGHER
To get you in the mood for tomorrow we thought we’d re-post the launch edition of the CQN Podcast – A Celtic State of Mind, for you to enjoy. If you missed it the first time around you are in for a real treat.
You’ll love Paul Gallagher’s Celtic stories and will enjoy his digs at Sevco Rangers, specifically his forcefully stated views on the same club myth.
Paul is featured in the second half of the podcast if you want to jump forward…
The CQN Podcast is presented by Paul Dykes with Kevin Graham and you can catch up on all the subsequent podcasts on Celtic Quick News.