Domestic football returns to Celtic Park as the Hoops prepare to face Hibs as their busy festive schedule continues.
Neil Lennon’s men stumbled to a 2-0 defeat to CFR Cluj on Thursday, however the game was a dead rubber given they had already topped Group E regardless of the result; several fringe players were given some game-time in Romania.
Sunday’s fixture will be Celtic’s first Premiership game since their 2-1 win over Hamilton Accies on 4th December . Scott Brown’s last-gasp winner sealed all three points in what was a dramatic game in front of a home crowd.
Since then, the Hoops have secured their 10th successive trophy after beating Rangers 1-0 in the Betfred League Cup final; Christopher Jullien with the winning goal in what was a tight affair.
New Hibs boss Jack Ross has been in the dugout for five games now; he’s won three of them and lost once.
They look a more structured and well organised team under the former St. Mirren and Sunderland gaffer, so it would be no surpise if they gave the Hoops some challenges on Sunday.
Several key Celts will come back into the mix for this one and will have had time to recharge their batteries.
Hatem Abd Elhamed, Jozo Simunovic and Daniel Arzani all remain out.
For Hibs, Joe Newell is out. Darren McGregor and captain David Gray both returned to training and are pushing for fitness and to be involved.
Here is our predicted Hoops XI.
GK: Fraser Forster
His heroics last Sunday secured the cup final win and had fans raving about him once more. We have to at least try and sign him permanently, surely?
RB: Jeremie Frimpong
Oh my days! The youngster is quickly becoming a fan favourite. He was our best player last weekend, bar Forster. Deserves his spot in the team.
CB: Christopher Jullien
Played in Thursday’s game in Romania, though it seemed like a bizarre choice given he was one yellow card away from missing the next European match.
CB: Kristoffer Ajer
Ajer was one of our key players who were rested midweek. He’ll come back into the fold and look to keep a clean sheet.
LB: Greg Taylor
Boli Bolingo returned from injury to feature on Thursday, though with a busy upcoming fixture list Lennon may call on Taylor to come in and do a job.
CM: Scott Brown (C)
The captain was given a much-needed rest from the action on Thursday, which will do him wonders. Will definitely be in the starting lineup come Sunday.
CM: Callum McGregor
Another key player who will return to action.
RM: James Forrest
Forrest could return to the starting lineup and look to find his form; wasn’t at his best in last weekend’s cup final.
CAM: Ryan Christie
16 goals so far this season, a fantastic and well-deserved return given his superb form. An important asset; could get on the scoresheet.
LM: Mohammed Elyounoussi
Elyounoussi started in the cup win though was far from his best. Sunday’s game will give him the opportunity to regain his sharpness if he starts. Mikey Johnston is also in with a shout.
ST: Odsonne Edouard
In-line to start as he continues his return to full fitness. A goal or two on his first start would be nice too!