The Celtic Lineup That Should Start Against Hibernian

Neil Lennon has choices to make
Neil Lennon has choices to make | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It’s been a rollercoaster start to the season for Celtic, whose Boli Bolingoli-inspired COVID scare let Rangers build up an early head of steam in the Premiership title race.

But with most of their games in hand now successfully negotiated and the European adventure still on course – just – a degree of normality is beginning to return at Parkhead. They’re not playing particularly well, but Neil Lennon’s team are winning matches, and will need a sixth straight victory when Hibs come to town to keep the momentum building.

With their fixture schedule more chaotic than ever, there will be some squad rotation for the showpiece clash at Celtic Park, so here is the XI Lennon should field.

Joe Shaughnessy, Shane DuffyJoe Shaughnessy, Shane Duffy
Duffy, as ever, rises highest | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Vasilis Barkas (GK) – The summer signing has quickly installed himself as first-choice and hasn’t missed a competitive game since his August debut. He might be busier than normal against a Hibs team who know how to cause problems.

Jeremie Frimpong (RWB) – Lennon has flitted between a 3-5-2 and a 4-2-3-1 in league games this season but we’ll go out on a limb and guess he will stick with the system that got the better of Livingston a week ago. With James Forrest likely to miss out with injury, Frimpong’s vibrant runs down the right will be more important than ever.

Hatem Abd Elhamed (CB)
– The Israel international has been dependable without pulling up trees, and was missed against Riga. He will likely be rotated back in here.

Shane Duffy (CB) – Christopher Jullien’s injury has further highlighted the importance of signing Duffy, whose impact since arriving from Brighton has matched his stature.

Kristoffer Ajer (CB) – Hasn’t been at his very best recently but as long as Jullien is out, his starting spot is unlikely to come into question.

Greg Taylor (LWB) – A case could be made for Moi Elyounoussi to be given a run out here but it is perhaps not the game to gamble. Taylor, though unremarkable going forward, offers some balance as Frimpong explodes down the right.

Callum McGregorCallum McGregor
McGregor scored his first of the season against Livi | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Scott Brown (CM) – The captain has shown one or two signs of slowing down this season but hasn’t missed a game since February and won’t sit out against his former side.

Callum McGregor (CM) – Death, taxes, and Callum McGregor partnering Scott Brown in midfield.

Ryan Christie (CM) – Should return to his more natural role after a fruitful spell being deployed as a second striker. Celtic don’t have a player who can turn a game on its head in the blink of an eye quite like Christie, and his ability to break defensive lines will be critical against Hibs, who have conceded just five times this term.

Albian Ajeti, Odsonne EdouardAlbian Ajeti, Odsonne Edouard
It’s time to unleash the Edouard-Ajeti partnership | Paul Campbell/Getty Images

Odsonne Edouard (CF) – The big Frenchman hasn’t quite hit the heights anticipated since his opening day hat-trick but where Edouard is concerned, a big performance is never far around the corner.

Albian Ajeti (CF) – The only time Edouard and Ajeti have started together, Celtic won 5-0. That’s no coincidence. The Swiss has scored in four of his five league appearances, so dropping him ahead of this one would be harsh.

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