Player with most to gain should partner Starfelt


Hibs home defeat to Newco on Sunday came after wins over Hearts and St Mirren, and draws at St Johnstone and Aberdeen, the latter coming when they were on top and squandered a penalty.  If you are looking for a team in the top half with incentives, look no further.  Hibs need at least a point to keep Hearts within touching distance before they meet for the final game of the season on Saturday.

Worse still, a win for St Mirren tonight coupled with a Hibs defeat would see Saints move into the European spot that would be created if Celtic win the Scottish Cup.  For lots of reasons I would rather Hibs finished above Hearts and St Mirren, but that’s not our concern.  Celtic need to get their game face back before the that cup final 10 days from now.

Alistair Johnston has long since abandoned moonboot and crutches and returned to training after three weeks out.  Our Canadian right back looks the complete thoroughbred so should remain close to full fitness after a three-week hiatus.  Trophy day on Saturday should be enough to fine-tune him for the cup final.

Ange Postecoglou has flipped between Yuki Kobayashi and Tomoki Iwata for the central defensive positive made available as Cameron Carter-Vickers convalesces.  For my money, Iwata did better, albeit against significantly less offensive opponents (see what I did there?), but we need to park that finding.

Iwata’s height precludes him from being anything more than a last option for central defence.  Yuki is the player bought for that position and with most to gain from experience alongside Carl Starfelt.  What else are dead rubbers for that preparing for the future?

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  1. Never mind Iwata, how tall is Kobayashi? He doesn’t look like he’d have been called Lofty at school, except sarcastically.

  2. Young Stephen Welsh should be playing there.a better player than they 2 put together.and he can get you a goal.HH

  3. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    If AJ gets 45 minutes on Saturday that’ll do me.



    His presence in the cup final would be a huge boost.



    If he does play, I suspect Ange will go with Iwata.



    Keeps Carl on the left side and sustains that relationship with Taylor and left sided midfielders.



    AJ and Iwata have already spent game time exchanging passes between inverted full back and deepest lying midfielder …



    … so a modicum of familiarity there too

  4. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Brian F – partly agree.



    Stephen Welsh would be a much better fit at CB.



    But I think he’s injured?



    And, for whatever reason, he hasn’t featured much this season.




  5. Tynecastle, Ibrox and possibly Easter Road.



    Yuki is not getting much of a breather. Playing him against St Mirren would have made more sense to me. But yes, play him tonight.

  6. Inside The SPFL








    #Rangers vs Hearts



    GTF day at Ibrox as they wave goodbye to Morelos, Kent, McGregor and Arfield, nothing to play for outwith imaginary pride for the outfit residing at Ibrox.

  7. watched hibs last game and either they are woeful or their opponents were quality as hibs


    were dire for a team meant to be trying to play in a euro competition, if we don’t win easily tonight then we have definitely switched off since the hearts game and as far playing Welsh gies peace , if that is level of our centre backs , we are struggling .

  8. Scottish Premiership on course for new attendances record


    Last updated on1 hour ago1 hour ago.


    From the sectionScottish Premiership


    Top flight crowds will be at their highest since the SPFL began almost 10 years ago


    Top flight crowds will be at their highest since the SPFL began almost 10 years ago


    The Scottish Premiership is due to break its overall attendance record on Wednesday when all 12 teams meet in the penultimate round of fixtures.



    Just 9,458 need to watch the six top flight matches to surpass the 3,639,331 who attended in the 2018-19 season.



    The average matchday attendance in the Premiership this term is 100,829, with Scotland enjoying the best gates per capita in Europe.

  9. Hibs are winless in 11 midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) league games (D4 L7) since beating Aberdeen 1-0 in December 2021.



    Celtic’s Daizen Maeda has scored in three of his five Scottish Premiership appearances against Hibs, including one at Easter Road in December this season.



    Hibs are winless in 17 meetings with Celtic across all competitions (D6 L11) since a 2-0 league win in December 2018 under ex-Celtic boss Neil Lennon.



    Celtic have only won their final away game in two of their last nine league seasons (D5 L2), including none of their last four (D3 L1 – including the curtailed 2019-20 season).



    Celtic have won each of their three meetings with Hibernian in all competitions in 2022-23, last beating them four times in a single season in 1996-97 (5).

  10. There’s a case to be made for resting Carl tonight.



    I wouldn’t object.



    If others saw that as trying to shaft Hearts that would be a bonus.

  11. ‘We can’t lose the league now’ – Postecoglou relaxed over Celtic form


    published at 17:03 23 May


    17:03 23 May


    Ange Postecoglou is relaxed about treble-chasing Celtic’s stuttering form as the Scottish Cup final looms.



    Celtic have won just one of their last four Premiership games and have taken a point from two matches since retaining the league title.



    Postecoglou, whose men are away to Hibs in their penultimate league fixture on Wednesday, said: “We just go out there and try to play our football but we know the league is done.



    “We can’t lose the league now, unless someone has brought in a new rule. The players are aware of that so I can’t go about pretending, trying to create some alternative universe where they are trying to achieve something they have already achieved.



    “But we still want to enjoy our games and prepare for the cup final and the best way to do that is play our football and take each challenge as it comes.



    “The players are training well and we want to finish the season strongly.”



    On the day Rangers announced five experienced players including Alfredo and Ryan Kent will leave Ibrox this summer, Postecoglou was asked if he expects a tougher title challenge next season.



    “I don’t know why that would even concern me to be honest,” he said.



    “This time last year Rangers were in a Europa League final and a Scottish Cup final, and they strengthened after the season didn’t they?



    “So does anybody really care? We didn’t start favourites in my first year and probably weren’t overwhelming favourites this year, so people will say what they want, mate.



    “Everyone has got a plan until they are punched on the nose and then you kind of reassess from there.



    “When we start next year, when the games start, everyone will see who is really strong and who isn’t strong and all that sort of stuff.”

  12. Postecoglou on Johnston’s fitness, January recruits and eye on cup final


    published at 14:41 23 May


    14:41 23 May


    Jane Lewis, BBC Sport Scotland



    Ange Postecoglou has been speaking to the media before Celtic’s midweek match with Hibernian at Easter Road.



    Here are the key points from his press conference:



    Right-back Alistair Johnston is back in training after injury. He’s not fit to face Hibs, but could return on Saturday against Aberdeen. Aaron Mooy is a doubt for Easter Road.



    On Johnston, Postecoglou says: “He has worked really hard to get back with the cup final in mind. He has got back really well and worked hard with the medical team and looked after himself really well.”



    The players must use the next two games to play for their Scottish Cup final place and ensure they’re in the best condition.



    Postecoglou hasn’t learned anything about his players in recent weeks that he didn’t already know… but he’s learned they are champions.



    He says his January recruits – Johnston, Tomoki Iwata, Yuki Kobayashi and Oh Hyeon-gyu – have settled in well and will hit the ground running next season.

  13. imo players of the ability ( more like lack of ) AR , SW etc should be nowhere near Celtic Park and allowed to leave and find their own level.

  14. glendalystonsils on

    ROBERTTRESSELL on 24TH MAY 2023 12:41 PM



    I wouldn’t worry too much about shafting Hearts . Any time they play Sevco they turn up pre-shafted .



    As for resting Starfelt , a back pairing of Yuki and Iwata would be asking for trouble in a game where we need to get back on the winning trail IMO.

  15. Yes, all-in all our team selection looks the most interesting thing about tonight’s game…



    – – – – – Hart



    Anthony – Starfelt – Yuki – Bernabei



    – – – -O’Riley – Iwata – Reo



    – – – – -Jota – Oh – Meada



    Let’s see who can perform to the requisite standard, subs will likewise be interesting but I suspect the score after an hour will have a bearing on that.



    Hail Hail

  16. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on



    Welsh is now fit and available for selection, rejoined training late last week.






    Interesting. Cheers.



    Will be interesting to see if Stephen features.



    Ange did say (in prep for cup final) he wanted game time for as many of those available as possible.



    Not sure though how long Welsh has been out and whether a week’s training will get it done.



    He certainly seems to have moved down the pecking order.



    Personally I find this disappointing.



    If he’d pushed on this season, I reckon the third of four CBs slot was his.



    Some posters suggesting not good enough long term?



    I kinda get that but we can’t have rock stars in positions 1 to 25 in the squad.



    Back in the day, John O’Shea of Man United was the prototype.



    Knew his limitations.


    That drove his work ethic.


    No ego. No baggage.


    Came in when needed. Did a job.


    Contributed to the outcomes each season.


    Was happy to be there (for a good while).

  17. Aipple – more or less though you are the first to spot it.


    Tyson said before his fight with Holyfield “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”



    This was in response to the media, as he explains:



    “People were asking me [before a fight], ‘What’s going to happen?.’ They were talking about his style. ‘He’s going to give you a lot of lateral movement. He’s going to move, he’s going to dance. He’s going to do this, do that.’ I said, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.'”

  18. Maybe a wee reminder that our cup final coming up is against the not so mighty Inverness – 6th in the championship, without a competitive game in a month by the time we play them, and a Celtic centre half who needs to contend with 34 year old journeyman Billy McKay.



    We could genuinely play one of Maeda’s wee uns back there without a worry in that game.



    In the summer I’d expect us to wave goodbye to Welsh and buy a commanding CH (probably the big lad from Holland).




  19. glendalystonsils on

    BIG WAVY on 24TH MAY 2023 2:37 PM



    In the summer I’d expect us to wave goodbye to Welsh and buy a commanding CH (probably the big lad from Holland).



    Virgil Van Dyke!? -)))))))

  20. I hope Stephen Welsh gets another crack at the first team. He has what it takes, just needs the experience which is always hard at big clubs.

  21. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from the International Bar. It’s a braw day for being oot and aboot. 👍

  22. Welsh was first pick at the start of the season scored against Aberdeen then got injured.and never recovered he looks a fae better bet than any of the two Japanese boys.who look to be pish to me

  23. amazed that some still wanting to play SW at centre back , some have short memories, another one of those players that seem to improve the longer he is not selected.

  24. fanadpatriot on



    Spot on ,no sentiment in football .


    SW,AR MJ need to move on and find their level HH

  25. So they two dumpling japanese boys are better than Welsh.if you think that you no feck all about football.did you see iwata on Saturday do you go to the games.kobyashi looks absolutely terrible.lightweight.passing is dreadful.r

  26. bigrailroadblues on

    Is it possible to buy a Celtic shirt without numbers, ads, etc? Been on CFC website and can’t see any. Regards- grumpy old traditionalist.

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