The Hoops are back in European action as they prepare to face FC Copenhagen in the first-leg of their last-32 tie – and Neil Lennon’s men look in fine shape ahead of Thursday’s crunch tie.
Denmark’s capital city will play host to this week’s match, with the home side looking to brush off the cobwebs having been out of competitive action since mid-December. Ståle Solbakken’s side returned to league action on Friday though and suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to second-bottom Esbjerg; not the Valentine’s Day romance story they would’ve hoped for.
Celtic have really turned on the style in 2020, having won all nine of their games since returning from their winter training camp in Dubai. Players such as Mohamed Elyounoussi and Nir Bitton have returned from injury and featured recently – a big boost given the team’s recent injury worries.
Jeremie Frimpong returned to the match-day squad for the weekend’s win over Aberdeen, so could be a starting contender for Thursday granted he’s fit.
Lennon has opted for a different approach recently with a 3-5-2 formation, though he may decide to switch things up with a back-four for Thursday’s fixture.
Here’s how we think the Hoops starting XI will look for the game.
GK: Fraser Forster
His heroic efforts in the group stage earned him plaudits, though hopefully, he won’t have too much to do on Thursday night!
RB: Jeremie Frimpong
Could make his on-field return after making the bench on Sunday. Hasn’t featured since the Kilmarnock win on January 22nd. His pace and agility will hopefully allow him to link-up well down the right-hand-side.
CB: Christopher Jullien
His attitude is spot on while his performances have been solid; he even loves chiming in with a goal or two. Celtic look threatening from set-pieces thanks to his aerial presence.
CB: Kristoffer Ajer
His composed finish on 81 minutes proved to be the decisive goal at Pittodrie on Sunday. Judging by that strike alone, you wouldn’t think he was a defender. Will partner Jullien at the back.
LB: Jonny Hayes
With Greg Taylor being forced off early on Sunday due to injury, it seems like Hayes is Lennon’s next option. Was a bitrash when he came on and didn’t offer much going forward, but the Irishman seems to be second-choice; who knows what Bolingoli’s situation is?
CM: Scott Brown (C)
These are the kind of games where Brown thrives as captain: away from home, on the European stage looking for a good away result. The skipper will lead his teammates out and have them fired-up.
CM: Callum McGregor
Another goal at the weekend took his 2020 tally to five (three in his last three). His importance to this team cannot be underestimated.
CAM: Olivier Ntcham
Lennon could decide to go with the Frenchman from the start. His ability to read the game and break the lines could be what’s needed in order to get off the mark. Christie is likely to come off the bench and inject some energy into the team when legs get tired.
RM: James Forrest
Hasn’t been at his best lately but is still registering assists and creating chances. Will start out on the right but could do so as a winger instead of a wing-back as he has done recently.
LM: Mohamed Elyounoussi
The loanee could occupy the left-wing spot – a position Celtic haven’t utilised in a while. His creative spark can hopefully threaten Copenhagen on the attack.
ST: Odsonne Edouard
Could start as a lone striker and is more than capable of holding his own up-top. He’ll drop back to contribute and hopefully be able to get on the end of plenty of chances created by the wingers and midfielders.