3 curveballs Brendan Rodgers could throw at St Johnstone

Celtic will be looking to get back to championship-winning form this afternoon when they take the trip to McDiarmid Park to face St Johnstone.

The Saints have seen some mixed results since Craig Levein arrived as their new boss, replacing Steven McLean, but the outcomes of his first three fixtures have been enough to see his side rise from the foot of the table after what was a torrid start to the season under their previous boss.

After the dropped points against Motherwell in the previous league fixture at Celtic Park, as well as the Champions League exit against Lazio on Tuesday evening, Brendan Rodgers may look to shake things up when it comes to his team selection.

Here are a few curveballs that the former Leicester City boss could throw into the McDiarmid Park mix in an effort to spark a reaction from the team this afternoon:

Maik Nawrocki

The Pole has scarcely been seen since signing for Celtic from Legia Warsaw in the summer. Signed as Celtic’s most expensive and marquee signing of the window, as well as being the replacement for Carl Starfelt, there was high expectations for the 22-year-old heading into this season. An injury he suffered in the late stages of the Viaplay Cup exit at Rugby Park earlier in the season has completely derailed his Celtic career as he hasn’t been seen on the field for the club since that injury.

The rise of Liam Scales this season has meant that game-time for Nawrocki has been limited. The Irishman’s form has also reassembled the pecking order of the rest of the centre halves currently at the club.

With Scales turning in a tame performance in Rome during the week, however, Rodgers could look to reintroduce Nawrocki to the fold as it can’t be forgotten that he hadn’t put a foot wrong in his early appearances for the club. Scales should be given the opportunity to play himself back onto a game this afternoon but Rodgers may be mulling this decision over.



Paulo Bernardo

The Portuguese midfielder was one of Celtic’s standout performers against Lazio on Tuesday evening, something that Brendan Rodgers will have most definitely taken note of.

With the third midfielder in the starting XI alongside Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley still not claimed, Bernardo may feel that he warrants a start ahead of Odin Holm and David Turnbull.

He hasn’t set the world alight yet in a Celtic shirt but he hasn’t had the opportunity to really do anything extraordinary or impressive. Ttomorrow’s game could be his chance to do just that.


Mikey Johnston

Celtic’s much-maligned and little-seen winger has turned in some solid performances over the last few weeks from the bench, and his displays in the club’s most recent two fixtures have really caught the eye.

Johnston isn’t a young player anymore and those performances may just have stood out because of how poor the rest of the team played, but that doesn’t mean that it should be ignored when he is playing well because of some preconceptions some fans may have had of him.

the Irish cap is desperate to succeed at Celtic, and allowing him a start this weekend over Yang Hyun-jun could give him the opportunity to take a further step towards doing just that.


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