Brendan Rodgers will be looking to ensure that his side is primed and ready for Saturday’s massive derby encounter.
Celtic have seen their lead at the top of the table slashed after back-to-back losses against Kilmarnock and Hearts, but wins over Livingston and Dundee have helped Celtic build momentum ahead of the weekend’s massive match.
Derby day is always seen as a must-win game, but in the scheme of this particular title race, the importance of a Celtic victory has never been clearer.
Brendan Rodgers will have plenty to ponder when it comes to team selection, and here is A Celtic State of Mind’s team prediction for Saturday’s big Glasgow Derby:
GK – Joe Hart
The English stopper has only faced one shot on target in his last two league games, but he cannot allow complacency to creep into his game this weekend. He will need to use all of his experience to help shepherd an unpreferred centre-back pairing against Rangers.
RB – Alistair Johnston
The Canadian hasn’t been at his best this season and will need to up his game to contain Rangers’ pacey forward Abdallah Sima.
CB – Stephen Welsh
Brendan Rodgers’ preferred candidate to step in for the injured Cameron Carter-Vickers, Welsh will be looking to turn in a similar display to his performance against Feyenoord in the Champions League.
CB – Liam Scales
The Irishman made a name for himself at Celtic thanks to his gutsy and battling performance in the reverse fixture at Ibrox back in September and will be looking to hit the same heights once again this weekend.
LB – Greg Taylor
The Scotland cap will need to raise his levels at the weekend as he hasn’t been anywhere near the quality this season that Celtic fans would expect.
CM – Matt O’Riley
The Dane has been one of Celtic’s standout performers this season, but will be looking to up the levels after slightly taking his foot of the gas over the last few weeks.
CM – Paulo Bernardo
The Portuguese midfielder looks to be finally finding his feet at Celtic after deputising strongly in a deeper role in Celtic’s midfield over the last two games. He has looked tidy on the ball and Rodgers may see the Benfica loanee as possessing more of the battling qualities required for a fixture such as this one.
CM – Callum McGregor
The captain has been taking up more advanced positions on the park over the last few weeks and to good effect as he begins to hit form at the perfect time.
RW – Luis Palma
Luis Palma has been key for Celtic in the last two victories, with every chance that Celtic create coming through the Honduran. Creating a whopping 11 chances at Dens Park mid-week, he will be key to success against Rangers on Saturday.
ST – Kyogo Furuhashi
The Japanese forward hasn’t been at his brilliant best, but he knows how to get it done on derby day and will need to be at the top of his game this weekend.
LW – Daizen Maeda
Maeda has been regaining match sharpness over the last two games and will be key in nullifying Rangers’ main threat in James Tavernier with his pace, drive and energy.
JAMES MCKENZIE // Follow James HERE