Ross County Preview: Celtic return to action following the International Break

Celtic return to action following the International Break with a trip up to Dingwall as the Hoops prepare to take on Malky Mackay’s Ross County.  A victory for the Bhoys would see Celtic maintain their 9 point lead at the top of the table, however, as both Ange Postecoglou and Carl Starfelt intimated at their press conferences, a tough and physical encounter is expected.

Ross County currently find themselves in 11th place in the table, two points above Dundee United and four behind Kilmarnock in 10th; incidentally, United and Kilmarnock are the only side County have beaten in their last 15 games.

Despite the home sides poor current form, both Postecoglou and Starfelt are prepared for physical game against a normally well organised opponent.  As Starfelt said though in his press conference, “if we can focus on our football instead of making it a physical contest, then I think we have a very good chance of winning the game.”

Starfelt was one of 9 Celtic players away on International duty during the break, however, the defender remained benched in both of Sweden’s fixtures.  The Swede returned to Celtic Park in full health, unfortunately the same could not be said for Anthony Ralston and Liel Abada.  The duo both left their International early, returning to Lennoxtown for treatment on injuries that will keep the pair out for the next couple of weeks.

Daizen Maeda was another leave his International team early with an injury concern, however, the Japanese forward appears to be fit and in contention to start tomorrow.  Reo Hatate and Aaron Mooy, on the other hand, are both likely to sit out the trip north as a precautionary measure ahead of next weekend’s Glasgow Derby.


Celtic have won on each of their last three games in Dingwall, with their last defeat coming back in February 2021 in Neil Lennon’s final game as Celtic manager; a solitary Jordan White goal was enough to crush a beleaguered Celtic side bereft of all confidence and ideas.

The Hoops next visit to Victoria Park saw Celtic start with a front three of Adam Montgomery, Liel Abada, and Josip Juranovic.  With the game tied at 1-1 and Celtic down to 10 men after Carl Starfelt had seen red, the game looked destined to finish in a stalemate until Anthony Ralston powered home a 97th minute header to win all three points.

Celtic would drop just 8 points after that game, two coming against St. Mirren in the following game,  as Ange’s Bhoys regained the title.  Talk about a pivotal moment in the season.

Late goals secured the points once again back in August as Jenz and Abada both scored in the final 5 minutes to seal a 3-1.  In truth, Celtic dominated the fixture but could not put their stubborn away until late on.  But then again, WE NEVER STOP.

Another tight and stuffy is expected tomorrow but as we have seen time and again this season, there is an absolute belief within the squad in what they are doing and that they will eventually prevail.

An early goal could open the floodgates.  Likewise, persistence could lead us to another late winner.


Ralston, Abada, and Forrest have all been ruled out with injury.

With the Glasgow derby on the horizon and players like Taylor, Hatate, Mooy, and Maeda all potentially carrying knocks we may see Ange change things up slightly for this game and give valuable minutes to some of the fringe players.

David Turnbull and Tomoki Iwata, for example, may well see tomorrow as an opportunity to stake a claim for a regular starting position if called upon in midfield.  Up front, the impressive Sead Hakšabanović could also see his starting chances improve should Maeda not be risked.

The depth of Celtic’s squad is likely to be called upon to its fullest in the coming weeks and the opportunity to give game time to the players on the fringes and even youngsters like Ben Summers and Rocco Vata could prove invaluable as the season reaches its pinnacle.

Here’s a potential line-up, let us know if you agree or disagree:

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