With Maeda and Palma out, who plays on the wings for Celtic against Lazio?

It was a hugely frustrating night in Madrid for Celtic on Tuesday as they were on the receiving end of a 6-0 demolition at the hands of Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid.

Callum McGregor described the Champions League horror show as “humbling” and “embarrassing” after the match, as players and fans alike attempted to come to terms with such a heavy loss. It was always going to be a tough task for Celtic to try and grab something from the contest, but the red card issued to Daizen Maeda in the 23rd minute made a tough task turn into mission impossible.

The Japanese wingman will now miss the trip to Rome to face off against Lazio in a match which is now must-win for Celtic if we have any hope of seeing European football after Christmas. The chances of a result at the Stadio Olimpico have been made even more difficult due to the fact that Luis Palma will serve a suspension in that fixture after accumulating too many yellow cards. Given that the Honduran was booked for such offences as taking his shirt off to celebrate a goal that was later disallowed by VAR, as well as for dissent in Madrid, it makes the fact that he will be missing the trip to Rome even more frustrating.

With Celtic missing the club’s two starting wingers for a pivotal European game, how will Brendan Rodgers adapt?

Yang and Forrest on the wings

This may not be the most exciting or inspiring wing pairing for a crucial Champions League game, but from the options currently available, it could be the best selection Celtic can field.

Yang has shown domestically that he possesses some of the necessary capabilities to change a game, with his appearances from the bench showing some positive signs, but doubts have lingered around whether he could have the same impact from a starting position.

The South Korean silenced the critics against Ross County last weekend, constantly proving to be a thorn in the Staggies side, and would have a massive opportunity to try and capitalise on this opportunity against Lazio.

Whilst James Forrest may not be the same player who equalised for Celtic in Rome back in 2019, the veteran winger does have the experience required to make an impact on the game. With Forrest lacking the pace to really drive at opposition defences these days, Rodgers may even opt to turn to Mikey Johnston for this game. This move seems incredibly unlikely if the Irishman isn’t seen in league action again before the trip to Rome.

A change of shape?

With the options on the wings now looking threadbare, Rodgers could opt to use two strikers upfront instead, with Oh Hyeon-gyu partnering Kyogo Furuhashi in the middle.

This would mean pushing Alistair Johnston and Greg Taylor further forward into the wing-back position, whilst allowing Nat Phillips to join Liam Scales and Cameron Carter-Vickers in the back three.

It would be a massive gamble from the manager, but it would be the kind of ‘all or nothing’ approach that just might be required if Celtic are to go for all three points in Rome.



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