3 Celtic curveballs Brendan Rodgers could throw at Hibs tonight

Fans are expecting Brendan Rodgers to ring the changes in tonight’s starting line-up for the visit of Nick Montgomery’s Hibernian side to Celtic Park.

Rodgers stated after the victory against St Johnstone that he was the angriest he had ever been in his managerial career during the half-time break at McDiarmid Park.

His dressing room anger prompted a positive second-half response which secured the three points, but Rodgers’ emotions were still running high in his post-match interviews as he was clearly still annoyed despite the three-goal turnaround.

Will the gaffer reward any of the four substitutes who all made a positive impact on Sunday by naming them in tonight’s starting XI against Hibs? Here are three curveballs Brendan Rodgers could throw for tonight’s league encounter:

Mikey Johnston

The Irish international was viewed in the summer as a player that Celtic desperately needed to get off their books. After years of showing promise as a young prospect, his indecisiveness in the final third as well as the injuries that have plagued him meant that he wasn’t developing much whilst still clearly being a raw talent.

His exploits since changing allegiances to the Irish national team have meant that he has always been in the minds of Celtic fans even when he hasn’t been featuring that often for the team this season.

A recent spate of injuries affecting the team in the wide areas has meant that an opportunity has been presented to Mikey, and the winger has grasped it in the last few weeks.

In his last three appearances from the bench, Johnston won a penalty against Motherwell, helped the team build up some momentum in Rome against Lazio, and against St Johnstone he provided the spark and energy in the final third that no one was willing to show.

This had led to Johnston looking the best option out of a bunch that are relatively unfavoured by supporters and he should be in line for a start tonight.



Tomoki Iwata

Iwata’s situation at the club has been a strange one under Brendan Rodgers. He arrived at the club with the accolade of being the J-League’s MVP, something that none of Celtic’s Japanese contingent has won.

Minutes have been limited since arriving in Glasgow, even when his boss at Yokohama F Marinos, Ange Postecoglou, was at the club.

An injury to Reo Hatate has meant that there is a free spot in the midfield and with David Turnbull not performing to the best of his ability at McDiarmid Park, Iwata looks to be best placed to make a start tonight, something that he has deserved given his patience as well as his consistently strong performances from the bench.


Oh Hyeon-gyu

A final curveball Rodgers could throw in could be a change of shape which would see him starting with two strikers.

Oh could provide the physical presence that Celtic have been missing up-front as well as providing more support for Kyogo Furuhashi who has just one goal in his last eight games in all competitions.

Oh brought a different dynamic to the Celtic attack that threw the Saints backline off on Sunday, and much like Iwata, Oh’s patience should be rewarded with a start tonight.


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