Patrick Roberts is back and fit, and has previous good form against Newco, but Brendan has relied heavily on James Forrest this season, so may be disposed to prefer the latter for Sunday. I am usually clear on which of the two I prefer against any opposition (James for teams who press us, leaving space for him to exploit, Patrick for teams who defend deep), but I am pulled two ways this time.
If pushed, I would go with James, leaving Patrick as a option when legs are tired.
We don’t usually have chats about which goalkeeper to play, but Scott Bain and Craig Gordon will both be hoping to start. Craig is fit, so If Scott gets the nod, it may indicate that the ongoing first choice keeper slot is up for grabs.
I expect we will see the return of a more recognisable back four, with Michael Lustig returning in place of Jack Hendry. How Brendan deploys Dedryck Boyata will be crucial. The opening goal we lost at Ibrox last month came from a ploy Newco have used repeatedly against us since the 2016 Scottish Cup semi-final.
Their players will often stand off Celtic but press Dedryck whenever he is in possession. Dedryck needs options available or he should go Route One.
Tom Rogic travelled a lot of miles and played a lot of football in March, so I am sure he was rested at Hamilton to ensure he would be in prime shape for Sunday. Brown and Ntcham will sit behind him and Dembele will lead the line.
This leaves one place to be filled by Sinclair, Armstrong or McGregor. My preference would be to favour the middle of the park. Control passing in the central area and we will win comfortably. We failed to dominate there in each of our three draws against Newco (2-2, 1-1, 0-0). McGregor would get the nod for this task, where I would ask him to play a conserved, always-available, role.
The manager has had a week at Lennoxtown with his team – a rare luxury for Celtic. So chill, we will be ready.
Win Two Scottish Cup semi-final tickets for the Celtic end on Sunday
Celtic sponsor, Intelligent Car Leasing, have very kindly donated two tickets which you can win, and help the Celtic FC Foundation. All you need to do is answer this simple question:
Which ground can Celtic win the league at on 21 April?
The competition has only been live for a day, closing 13:00 today Friday 13th, so if you don’t have a ticket, you have very little time to do something about it……
To enter, make a £5 minimum donation to the Foundation at this MyDonate link. Then send your confirmation email to firstname.lastname@example.org WITH THE ANSWER IN THE SUBJECT LINE. If you are not on your email this afternoon, include your phone number.
Tickets will be available for collection at Celtic Park on Sunday lunchtime.
Two tickets, Celtic end, Sunday………… Good luck and thanks to Intelligent Car Leasing and all who enter!