Unpredictable Celtic lineup


Hibernian were on a run of three consecutive wins when they lost 4-1 to Celtic in Glasgow on 6 December.  Their seven league games since have produced a win at Livingston, two draws and four defeats.  Their last two home games were brutal 0-3 hammerings by St Mirren and Newco.

With Livingston and Ross County both circling the drain Hibs form might not be a relegation worry, but they are only two points ahead of a rejuvenated St Johnstone, who sit 10th.

That game at Celtic Park in December was refreshing inasmuch as the visitors at least tried to play football in the Celtic half.  Whether they will be so bold tonight while in such a poor run of form is doubtful.  Manager Nick Montgomery arrived in September with a strong reputation earned in Australia.  He can afford to lose to Celtic, but there is a limit on how many absolute batterings you can take in front of your own fans before the natives grow restless.

The Celtic line-up is often predictable, but I have no idea how Brendan Rodgers will go tonight.  I have been an advocate of Maik Nawrocki’s but he put in a poor second half against Aberdeen on Saturday before being replaced by Stephen Welsh.  Either one could start alongside Liam Scales.

Alexandro Bernabei also made way for Tony Ralston at left back.  My gut tells me Tony will get the nod from the start tonight.

We now have genuine options on the wing.  Nicolas Kuhn began and ended the move that led to Celtic’s goal on Saturday and will surely get his chance from the start, with Liel Abada dropping to the bench.  The welcome return of Daizen Maeda gives the manager a further option, for either wing.  I expect we will see Luis Palma start on the left, Nicolas on the right, with Daizen and Liel making an appearance at some point.

Kyogo was a spectator until Adam Idah came on at Aberdeen.  Thereafter our Japanese talisman was able to contribute significantly more.  There is no way Brendan will start with Adam on the field but neither of us will be surprised if that changes after the hour mark.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3

  1. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Would Kyogo have scored the same number of goals last season with no Hatate, Mooy, Abada or Jota………

  2. If Boyle is up against Tony we will struggle against his pace we need to cut the supply and have Maeda’s pace to help Tony, Welsh with Scales for me, midfield is a problem none want to break the lines and get ahead of the ball that needs to happen and often to carry more threat, if they’re deep Kyogo wont have space to operate so maybe Idah to provide a focal point to play from,but Kyogo is a finisher he needs chances and more of them, we need to win, any win will do.

  3. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Ralston deployed left side is a concern to me.



    If Bernabei isn’t the answer, young Mitchell Frame did some (not huge amounts of) decent work further upfield against Feyenoord.



    Might be worth considering.



    Brendan sees them all daily and knows best I suppose.

  4. Some good comments on the read back.



    AULDHEID on 7TH FEBRUARY 2024 1:13 AM



    CQN, sratch that, the Celtic support at it’s best.



    BURNLEY78 on 7TH FEBRUARY 2024 8:44 AM



    Well said.





    “Why would Infantino be excessively concerned about the consequences?”



    They are ultimately responsible and any teams cheated out of:


    – euro places either in the SPFL (or from other countries via euro qualification)


    – euro progression / prize money when they played Rangers)


    would have a case for loss of earnings to be sought via Civil Courts / CAS.




  5. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Their manager has a football “philosophy”, which is all well and good so long as you have the players to implement it. Hib’s clearly do not and I hope he continues with his stupidity tonight.



    I also hope our manager plays his strongest team and doesn’t decide to troll the board/recruitment team. The time for that (if there ever was one) is gone and every game is now a must win.

  6. Abada can’t start tonight. Kuhn has to come in as should Maeda imo. If Kyogo starts then he’s fortunate. I wouldn’t be giving him an hour though if he’s still being a peripheral figure in the game. If he’s not involved after 30 mins, I’d hook him for Idah.



    Change is the key for me. The momentum is all one way and we can’t be naming the same front 3 every game and expect different results. It won’t just click. We have to be proactive now and win this title rather than hope to win it. I don’t see the point giving the likes of Kyogo an hour if he’s anonymous. We’ve a game to win tonight and every minute counts.

  7. Reposted from the end of the previous thread, with one minor correction right at the end.



    Just read Auldheid’s post and I am happy to confirm what he’s said in there.







    I played a very modest role in the Resolution 12 campaign, simply drawing attention to various elements of it, but I did attend that meeting on the day in question and I’m happy to verify that. I’ve always respected Lawwell as an administrator and as a finance guy, but he should have been nowhere near the football department about which he knows exactly nothing … and he is, I’m afraid, fatally compromised by his long-standing view, as borne out in statements both public and private that we “need” the Ibrox club.







    And I’m starting to think it’s this board’s considered opinion that we need an Ibrox club which at least appears to be able to challenge us. I don’t subscribe entirely to the theory of self-sabotage, but it’s hard to deny that we could be streets ahead of them and we’ve chosen – very deliberately chosen – not to be. That bothers me enough on its own, but that this policy badly hampers our ability to make any forward progress in Europe is damaging to our reputation and our standing and sooner or later (sooner, I think) that will have consequences. Pretty big ones.







    For me and a lot of others we’ve reached the end of the line with this board. I don’t trust these people, and Lawwell in particular knowing what Auldheid and the others did and knowing how they were treated. I don’t trust that the policy serves the club any longer. Whether it’s Desmond inflating the bank balance to facilitate a sale or if it’s the aforementioned “one step ahead but no more than one” agenda, it’s no longer important to me why we choose to have tens of millions in the bank whilst the team rots.







    Fresh thinking would have done this board good. It doesn’t want that. Because fresh eyes might see things that would horrify even those of us who are already pretty horrified. We have three Strachan’s on the books. Three Lawwell’s. Two Desmonds. This is not healthy. It is, in fact, profoundly corrupt. Our whole club, from top to bottom, is filled with friends and family members of those who sit on the board … this club is run for their benefit, not ours, and that’s why so much of the operation is third rate.







    Yeah, I don’t just think the fans have been lied to, and that the shareholders were lied to, I know they were. And if Paul67 or anyone else wants to slag the guys who put in so much time and effort and blood, sweat and tears in the lonely task of holding people to account, well they did more than the club did. They did a lot more than some of those who’ve sniped from the sidelines.







    Auldheid and I have fell out a couple of times down through the years, but what kept us talking, always, was our mutual love for this club and our determination not to see it cheated or screwed over. That guy is one my heroes. He never wavered. He doesn’t to this day. I wish we had more like him.

  8. onenightinlisbon on



    We have three Strachan’s on the books. Three Lawwell’s. Two Desmonds. This is not healthy. It is, in fact, profoundly corrupt. Our whole club, from top to bottom, is filled with friends and family members of those who sit on the board … this club is run for their benefit, not ours, and that’s why so much of the operation is third rate.



    Absolutely on the money. Corrupt to the core and don’t give a flying **** about the ordinary supporter yet we are told by the lackeys on here that we should be grateful to them….

  9. glendalystonsils on

    We see with the Goldson handball and some dubious offsides last night , how sevco will be guided and protected through tricky fixtures where outcomes are otherwise not guaranteed . Meaning they are unlikely to be allowed to drop many points and that , to win this league , we will have to drop fewer points than they do .



    A very big ask .

  10. Just been passed these comments from Lurch ahead of the Sevco Aberdeen game last night. It reads like the is trolling the Celtic fans and manager in two little snippets.



    “It’s a gigantic club with a lot of support and that gives us a lot of energy. We hope we can continue in this positive way because you win a few extra points if the fans are always behind you.”



    “I’m here for the club, I’m not here for myself or my ego. I love to see happy faces.”



    I’d suggest you win more than a few extra points when VAR / SFA officialdom is behind you but that just adds to the level of trolling.




    On more pressing matters, I’d love to see a 3-5-2 tonight to start with Maeda LW to counter Boyle’s pace and to see Kyogo up front with support. Anything has to be better than Tony R played out of position, assuming Taylor is still out and Bernie is not favoured/trusted by BR.




  11. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Huns installed as new bookies favourite. The model has certainly taken us to a new level as P67 promised us, just in the wrong direction.



    The invisible (chair)man is out his depth and being worked from behind. At least we are reassured it’s not by his old boss.



    By all accounts a good Celtic man and a good lawyer. Just not a Celtic CEO, but no disgrace in that. Few are.

  12. onenightinlisbon on




    LOL…we tried to get Messi as well….

  13. A lot of people on here advocating 3-5-2. I’m not sure Rodgers can/will change but I’m thinking back to the time Lennon stumbled upon a new formation to turn a losing league race into a winning one. Probably his finest hour (Barcelona if we’re referring to individual matches).



    I feel Rodgers will need something as drastic because right now, the pendulum is swinging the other way.

  14. onenightinlisbon on

    I wouldn’t put money on Rodgers changing. Not really his nature. Keep doing the same thing over and over, get the same result.

  15. I hope BR has considered who can cross from a set piece – whether it be a corner or a free kick. As a squad we don’t seem to have any who can score a direct free kick, which used to be a good weapon in years gone bye. Likewise we rarely score from a corner (Scales aside this season) and Stephen Welsh offers that so, due to the performance of Nawrocki on Saturday, those two reasons should see him brought in. It’s too risky to move Scales to LB and play Welsh alongside Nawrocki.



    When you’re not playing well from open play or creating lots of clear cut chances set pieces are a big benefit.

  16. JAMES FORREST on 7TH FEBRUARY 2024 12:29 PM




    Auldheid and I have fell out a couple of times down through the years, but what kept us talking, always, was our mutual love for this club




    The trouble with folks like you and all the agitators, and include the GB and the lot at the other end of Celtic Park, is that you think your “love of Celtic” is exclusive, and anyone not joining in the constant and ubsubstantiated carping, does not love Celtic as much.



    You are totally wrong and your mistaken belief is utter nonsense – add up the GB/Other lot to all the moaning bloggers and you have a infitessimal ‘batch’ in comparison to the whole Celtic supporrt/family.



    No one ever has shown hard evidence for all their gossip, behind the scenes machinations, converations that apparently happened, or, anything else – mud is slung and swallowed by those who want to believe it, having already made up their minds.



    So I say, put up or shut up – let’s all see your evidence about anything you chunter on about……….. but of course it doesn’t exist.



    Paul’s piece yesterday was measured and reasonable – however it prompts harsh retaliation from the usual suspects – not surprising – because you can’t reason people out of a position that they have not reasoned themselves into.

  17. bournesouprecipe on




    Au contraire, but if anybody gets it right they deserve more than a coconut, so here goes,













  18. PeterLatchfordsBelly on




    You ask JF for evidence whilst making sweeping assertions about the feelings of the fan base based on… zero evidence.



    I think the evidence of nepotism alone is indisputable. 👍



    “I think the evidence of nepotism alone is indisputable. 👍”



    The appearance/perception of it is evident.


    The evidence of it is not clear without knowledge of the recruitment process / CVs /interviews etc.




  20. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Struggling to see how a 3-5-2 would benefit us.


    The way to break through a packed defence is by stretching it. 4-3-3 gives you three players in the wide areas so you can create overloads and pull defenders out of position and so create gaps.


    With a 3-5-2 you are leaving yourself with only one player out wide. All you’ll get from that is a load of crosses which is exactly what the opposition will want – heading away balls for fun.


    Keep the formation that has been working for us for most of the last 2 1/2 seasons but move the ball quicker, have more off-the-ball runs and play more high-risk passes.



    The invisible (chair)man is out his depth and being worked from behind. At least we are reassured it’s not by his old boss.


    By all accounts a good Celtic man and a good lawyer. Just not a Celtic CEO, but no disgrace in that. Few are.



    I read an article a while back re: the best at CEO’s. Best ones now come from the engineering and economics fields. They are deemed to be more dynamic/innovative. As opposed to the more risk averse law/accountancy CEO of the past.






    Can’t remember who said if plan A is not working then try harder at Plan A …..



    For me at this time of the year heavier pitches and the like our tip tap style does get slower and gives the opponent a better chance of getting a foot in.



    For me big part of our problem is that distribution from the centre halves is painfully slow and very rarely a decent ball into the midfield. I suspect Brendan will stick to the same back 4 that started against the sheep but if we were at home this evening , I’d rest Liam and bring in Welshy.

  23. A Ralston should never ever be selected to play left back , if Bernarbi is not selected then Mitchell Frame should be selected , if AR is selected it has to be at right back as AJ has been very poor this season.

  24. I though maik tired on Saturday. He’s not fully match fit/ sharp. Couldn’t be. For me he starts.



    Ralston is the least worst option at LB.



    Whoever plays I hope we’ve worked on our finishing in the last few days. That’s what has really cost us lately.

  25. imo we have to revamp the entire back 4 , the only time they look in control is when they are passing the ball sideways and backwards slowly and ponderously while the opposition team all sit back and putting our back 4 under no pressure, but any over or through ball to a lonesome opposition attacker then its a different story , how can a lonesome striker cause so much panic.

  26. Peterlatchfordbelly



    I do agree with you about the lack of leaders in the team right now. That for me is a huge worry… not just for tonight but the rest of the season.



    I would put Greg and Joe after Cal and then I am struggling in that regard.



    As for the off field stuff ….. quite honestly I give up. Folk have entrenched views magnified by those who would take joy in seeing us fail.



    This happened in 2020/1 and it’s happening again.



    Sadly the anti agenda is given wings by our own and our desire to blame and seek scapegoats and this is balanced by an astonishingly strong pro rangers agenda which seeks to galvanize their support.



    Hence now we have our own fans booing a team, who just 1 league game earlier at home had beaten our rivals convincingly, whilst our rivals celebrate and engage with their heroes supporting with gusto when winning a home game 2-1.



    The off field stuff is a smokescreen. The respectively levels of transparency at the 2 clubs is chalk and cheese. Few have a clue at the numbers at their place whereas our every detail is magnified for all to see. Hence the nonsense about balance sheet etc. Only 2 benefit there and neither are making the decisions that matter. That’s the facts.

  27. As many have said on here we really need to galvanise and align ourselves and really hope we can back the men to step up this next few weeks.



    We have a young team but enough have been over the distance to win the league. They have only 2 or 3 and that was with no support.



    Tonight would be a great place to start. Hopefully our new striker can press the button and that we see Bernardo O Riley and Abada play like men.

  28. what a read about SPL VAR guy greg Aitken , how he is allowed to oversee any of our games is a mystery , as a club we are far to timid to rock the boat.

  29. RC on 7TH FEBRUARY 2024 2:11 PM


    “what a read about SPL VAR guy greg Aitken”



    Have I missed a link? Please share.



    BURNLEY78 on 7TH FEBRUARY 2024 1:57 PM


    “As many have said on here we really need to galvanise and align ourselves and really hope we can back the men to step up this next few weeks.”



    After a week away on holiday I have returned to find that no seats are available on the bus for our next home game; the first time in about 12 months that it has been fully booked. Now need to wait until Monday to see if there are any cancellations as the seats are allocated on the road home after each game so you miss one game and you can lose out…



    Perhaps a good sign that interest is picking up now that things are getting tight and ppl want to make the extra effort to be there to support the team?




  30. so now it is an accusation that the celtic board are corrupt ?



    that is a big big leap right there., if anyone has any proof of corporate wrong doing, can you please provide evidence.



    as an aside, what is corrupt about nepotism ?



    be really really honest those who sling the mud, have you or your own families benfited from job placements, or a hand up somewhere, knowing full well you, or your siblings or cousins or sons and daughers were maybe not the best person for the job. did you care ? all that mattered was you were in a position to help and you took advantage of it



    be honest.



    i never benefitted from a job given by a relative ever.



    i did though get my youngest brother, several cousins and a couple of uncles jobs with contractos to my main place of work.



    once in several shone, went onto better things, but stood by their own performance, i never once pulled strings in any other way.



    i did work with several fasmily groups where the whole family got jobs, vias father and uncle, but then many were good at what they did, and succeeded,



    so, hands up if you ever gave a family member a hand onto the ladder ?

  31. According to the Celts Are Here website, Mitchell Frame is injured.



    Bernabei still gives me the fear re losing possession. I know we are too possession risk averse but Alexandro takes risk-welcoming to too high a level for me. For that reason, I would go with






    Johnston Nawrocki Scales- probably Ralston



    Holm McGregor O’Riley



    Kuhn Idah Palma



    with Abada, Kyogo, Welsh, Vata and Bernardo available as subs.



    The only other alternative I see is to give young Daniel Kelly a start in an unfamiliar position, which would be a big ask of the young man.

  32. Tony Ralston isn’t the answer for left back,personally I would try Bernaba on the left wing,Madea left full back with his pace ,also I see Man U man Ratcliffe on sky about revamping Old Trafford ,Like Ratcliffe Desmond is a Billionaire maybe he should revamp Celtic Park he has the money to rebuild the stadium.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3