How will Brendan Rodgers line Celtic up to face Hearts?

Celtic could find themselves back at the top of the cinch Premiership just a few weeks after being knocked off their perch by arch rivals Rangers.

Brendan Rodgers’ men will have no easy route of getting there though, as they would have to take all three points at Tynecastle, with Stephen Naismith’s Hearts side being one of the strongest performing teams in the league this season.

Hearts have stumbled in their last two fixtures, receiving a five-goal hammering at Ibrox followed by a home draw in the Edinburgh derby against Hibernian.

Celtic will have to try and overcome the Jambos without captain Callum McGregor, with an injury setback looking to have ruled him out of an appearance in Gorgie this afternoon.

With such high stakes, Brendan Rodgers has to get his team selection right, and here is A Celtic State of Mind’s starting XI prediction for this afternoon’s trip to Tynecastle.

Joe Hart

The experienced stopper had a much quieter evening mid-week with most of the action happening at the other end of the pitch, but he will need to be alert for a Hearts side that knows how to score goals.

Alistair Johnston

Johnston has been performing well since returning from a facial injury, and will be looking to link-up again with Yang Hyun-jun down the right flank.

Cameron Carter-Vickers

The Celtic defence looks a lot more solid with Carter-Vickers at the back, and 90 minutes in his legs at Tynecastle will benefit the American cap for the title run-in.

Liam Scales

Scales has come under some criticism over the last few weeks, but he will be hoping for a return to form in Gorgie.

Greg Taylor

Taylor has been one of Celtic’s top performers over the last two games with two fantastic assists. He will be hoping for a similar performance today against stern opposition.

Matt O’Riley

The Dane looked back to his best mid-week, but he needs to back that performance up with another top display against the Jambos.

Tomoki Iwata

The former J-League MVP has been taking his chances in the last two fixtures, and could cement himself as a first-team starter with another good performance this afternoon.

Paulo Bernardo

The Portuguese midfielder could stepping up in place of the potentially injured Callum McGregor, and he will be looking for a top performance if he hopes to regain his starting berth in the team before the end of the season.

Yang Hyun-jun

Yang has turned in some electric performances for Celtic down the right-flank, and will be looking to cause some havoc for the Hearts backline later today.

Adam Idah

The Irishman has completed the impossible task of displacing Kyogo Furuhashi from the starting XI. Now, he needs to stamp down his authority on that position, and after scoring five goals and adding one assist in his first five league games, he will be hoping to add to that tally at Tynecastle.

Daizen Maeda

Maeda surprisingly kept his place in the team mid-week, but he justified that selection by scoring the pick of the bunch against Dundee.

James McKenzie // @JamesWHMcKenzie

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