By Paul Robinson

16th Sep, 2021 | 2:00pm

Celtic 30-year-old tipped to replace McGregor after early team news via BBC - pundit

Paul Robinson “fully expects” James McCarthy to make his full debut for Celtic tonight against Real Betis.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Tottenham and England goalkeeper said tonight’s Europa League tie is the “perfect time” to bring the 30-year-old into the starting XI.

As quoted by the BBC yesterday, Ange Postecoglou revealed Callum McGregor and Liel Abada are ruled out of the trip to Real Betis.

Abada misses out for religious reasons while McGregor has suffered a knock.

The Scotland international has started all 12 of Celtic’s fixtures this season and his absence opens up a spot in the centre of the midfield for the Hoops.

Robinson has tipped McCarthy to get the nod over Ismaila Soro.

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“I fully expect him [McCarthy] to start,” he told Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs.

“It’s the perfect night to bring him. It’s such a big game and his experience will be invaluable.

“Postecoglou will be desperate to get off to a good start in the group and he will need to lean on his experienced players to do it. Real Betis are a decent outfit and it will be no means by an easy game.

“It is a great opportunity for McCarthy to start given that McGregor is out.”

Celtic signed McCarthy on a four-year contract in August following his release from Crystal Palace.

He has made three substitute appearances this season.

In other news, Celtic chiefs slammed by pundit after Ange Postecoglou shares ‘shocking’ behind the scenes reveal about McKay departure.