Celtic and Dunfermline have shared plenty of history over the years, good and bad – from European glory days under Jock Stein to the big fallout of 2003 when Chris Sutton questioned the integrity of Jimmy Calderwood’s side after they capitulated on the last day of the season to hand the title to Rangers.
Following near-financial ruin in 2013, Dunfermline went into administration and dropped down the divisions. They are now a settled Championship club, who tend to line up in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, with two wide players playing high up alongside the front two.
New signings Ryan Dow, Kevin Nisbet and Kyle Turner are already looking good for Stevie Crawford’s men. With 36 goals for Raith Rovers last season, Nisbet could cause Neil Lennon’s already-fragile backline some problems.
Here are the ACSOM team’s predictions for Celtic’s defence of the League Cup:
Celtic will have to put the disappointing defeat at the hands of Cluj to the back of their minds as our defence of the Scottish League Cup gets underway this weekend. I would expect wholesale changes throughout the team following the stinging criticism from all quarters after exiting the Champions League qualifier.
The match against Dunfermline starts a crital sequence of five matches before the first international break of the season. All eyes will be on the defensive set-up where I would expect both Bolingoli and Jullien to return in a bid to increase match sharpness and to start to repay the significant sums spent on them over the summer.
With midfield options aplenty, the wider squad will be used with perhaps Shved and Sinclair in contention. The importance of a fit and fresh Édouard is already clear this season and this should give Griffiths the opportunity to lead the line again as he did against Motherwell.
Even if a number of changes are made, Celtic should have enought to see us through to the next round of the cup.
Celtic to win 3-1 and Griffiths to score first.
Tuesday is still a delicate topic and a victory over Dunfermline will hopefully put a plaster on what is still a gaping wound.
Changes are very likely and these players must look at this as a massive opportunity to show their worth to the club with only two weeks of the transfer window remaining.
Expect to see the likes of Shved, Bayo, Bolingoli, Gordon and Jullien start the game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Connell, Dembele and Okoflex involved somewhere along the lines.
Dunfermline have been a bit hit and miss this season but will arrive at Celtic Park with nothing but hope and will most likely come at Celtic looking to catch them cold from Tuesday.
This is the first step towards retaining the Betfred Cup and the first step on the long journey back to reuniting the Celtic support.
Celtic 5 Dunfermline 0 – Mikey Johnston to score anytime.Listen to the award-winning A Celtic State of Mind podcast