Who makes Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI for Celtic’s visit to Aberdeen?

Many were surprised when Brendan Rodgers named his eleven for flag day against Ross County last Saturday, with some notable omissions conspicuous by their absence.

Alexandro Bernabei and Sead Haksabanovic were both missing from the squad, with it being revealed last night that the Argentine had slept in for a team meeting which Rodgers didn’t take too well to.

Reo Hatate dropping out of the side was the big shock with David Turnbull taking up his place, but this was the perfect example of Rodgers stamping his authority on this Celtic group as he looks to transform the side from Ange Postecoglou’s team into something more suited to his own style.

Whilst not straying too far from the Postecoglou philosophy, Rodgers’ side put in a comfortable performance against Ross County. However, this coming Sunday’s trip to Pittodrie will be a much tougher test and a much better indicator as to where the squad currently stands. But which team will Rodgers name? Here is A Celtic State of Mind’s predicted 11:

GK – Joe Hart

The former Man City stopper has come under criticism with plentiful ACSOM contributors calling for him to be replaced, this writer included. Links to goalkeepers haven’t been coming in too often this summer, with Dominik Livakovic the only link with any substance. Rodgers trusts Hart, but he will have to cut mistakes out of his game quickly as they won’t be tolerated for long.

RB – Anthony Ralston

It is well known that Ralston is a player Rodgers likes. The Irishman trusted Ralston as a young player and gave him his first few opportunities in a Celtic shirt. Despite a poor tail-end to last season, Ralston has shown glimpses of the quality he displayed when he was at his best, and consistent game time whilst Alistair Johnston recovers will be perfect for getting back to his best self.

CB – Cameron Carter-Vickers

No explanation needed. Barring any major injuries, Carter-Vickers will be vital for Celtic over the next few weeks following the exit of Carl Starfelt, as the Celtic defence readjusts to life without the Swede. Consistent game time for him and his new centre-back partner will be vital over the next few matches.

CB – Maik Nawrocki

The Pole looked more like the player Celtic paid £4.3 million for against Ross County. As mentioned previously, more games alongside Carter-Vickers will only strengthen their partnership and the 22-year-old will be eager to nail down that starting spot with the potential arrival of another centre-back looking imminent.

LB – Greg Taylor

With Alexandro Bernabei’s recent antics ruling him out of a starting place, there should be surprises that Taylor starts at left-back. However, performance levels will need to improve from the Scot as we get into the swing of the new campaign.

CM – Callum McGregor

Captain McGregor has perhaps the most stable position in the team. Consistency personified, McGregor’s relationship with Rodgers is strong and the manager has every reason to trust the 30-year-old.

CM – Matt O’Riley

Big things were predicted for the former Fulham man this season, and he is making all the right moves to break into the Danish national team. A starring role against Ross County for the 22-year-old will no doubt cement his place in the lineup for the trip to Pittodrie.

CM – David Turnbull

Eyebrows were raised when Turnbull was in the Starting XI for Saturday’s fixture, but Turnbull added to a promising pre-season with two goals and a man-of-the-match performance against the Staggies. On form like this, The Bull is undroppable.

RW – Liel Abada

The Israeli has been tipped for a return to form under Rodgers, with this contributor in particular predicting that the 21-year-old will raise his game to even higher levels. An assist on the opening day with a pitch-perfect pass to Kyogo Furuhashi was his best moment and he should retain his place on Sunday.

ST – Kyogo Furuhashi

Kyogo got off the mark on Saturday with a well-taken finish. He showed different elements to his game which we expected under Brendan Rodgers. As Jerry Taylor said on the The ACSOM Bulletin this week, “Expect less goals but more assists”. His delicate pass to O’Riley for Celtic’s fourth was incredible and with Oh Hyeon-Gyu out injured for the time being the importance of Kyogo to the Celtic team takes even more of an emphasis.

LW – Daizen Maeda

Many wondered how Daizen Maeda’s game would change with Rodgers coming in. He was always seen as one of Ange’s favourites and the epitome of the style of football Ange played. However, he seems to have put a focus on improving the technical side of his game which was noticeable in pre-season and something that won’t go unrewarded by Brendan Rodgers.

JAMES MCKENZIE

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