The Hoops return to Celtic Park tonight for the first time in almost three weeks as they take on a Hearts side who remain bottom of the Premiership pile.
At the opposite end of the table, Neil Lennon’s side are flying high. Since returning from the winter break they have looked like a real unit who know what it takes to get the job done.
The champions have conceded just three goals in seven games so far this calendar year, and are firing on all cylinders at the other end having scored 22 in all competitions.
No fresh injuries were sustained in their 3-0 win over Clyde on Sunday. Lennon opted for a rotated team to allow fringe players some game-time, while also giving regulars time to recharge.
Hatem Abd Elhamed, who hasn’t played since the win over Lazio in November, returned to training recently alongside Nir Bitton recently; Mohamed Elyounoussi got some minutes under his belt on Sunday as he regains his fitness.
The Hoops have won their last seven successive games against Hearts, with the Edinburgh side’s last victory over their Glasgow rivals coming in August 2018.
Nevertheless, this will be a competitive match under the Parkhead floodlights.
Here is our Hoops predicted XI…
GK: Fraser Forster
Was rested for the weekend’s cup action but will return to the team once again.
CB: Christopher Jullien
It’s safe to say the Frenchman is a mainstay in the back-line now.
CB: Kristoffer Ajer
The Norwegian has shown signs of promise and can only get better.
CB: Jozo Simunovic
If Lennon decides to switch back to a trio of centre-halves then Jozo will likely be called upon.
RWB: James Forrest
Will occupy that right-hand side as always, though could do so in a wing-back role as opposed to his usual out-and-out winger spot.
LWB: Greg Taylor
It remains somewhat unclear as to who our first-choice left-back is, especially given we are rotating the team shape so often. Bolingoli returned to the side on Sunday and looked promising, while Hayes is expected to recover from a knock. Greg Taylor, however, is likely to come back into the fold and look to hold down his place.
CM: Scott Brown (C)
The captain bagged a rare goal on Sunday and helped fire his side to a convincing victory.
CM: Callum McGregor
Was given a much-needed rest at the weekend. His engine and overall ability is crucial to our season.
CM: Olivier Ntcham
It’s a tough call to choose between Oli and Christie. However, given the Frenchman has started regularly so far in 2020, I can see Lennon sticking with him.
ST: Leigh Griffiths
Likely to return to the starting lineup after missing out on Sunday. Four goals in seven games so far in 2020; his link-up play with Edouard and hunger to score can be very useful.
ST: Odsonne Edouard
Our clinical talisman recently picked up the January Player of the Month award after helping us to wins over Killie and County. 24 goals and counting for Eddy – here’s to many more.