25-year-old attacker returns in Rodgers 4-2-3-1: Celtic best possible XI v Ross County
By Matt Farr
Celtic should recall James Forrest to the starting line-up when they take on Ross County at Parkhead on Wednesday.
Forrest has not started a match for Celtic in their last six appearances, and having just returned from a thigh injury, should get an opportunity to build up his fitness ahead the Old Firm clash with Rangers on Saturday.
The 25-year-old winger has been a valuable asset to Brendan Rodgers this season, contributing six goals and six assists from 27 appearances in all competitions this season.
He should come in for the suspended Callum McGregor, who was sent-off against Hamilton at the weekend.
In a bid to enforce their dominance on the league’s sixth-placed side, Rodgers may resist the urge to rest too many key players.
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Celtic can go 17 points clear of Rangers with a win, while they will also be determined to maintain their current unbeaten record in the league since the start of the campaign – therefore, wholesale changes could affect their rhythm.
However, with McGregor suspended and Leigh Griffiths likely to miss the game through injury, there are some amendments that need to be made.
Moussa Dembele will return in the absence of Griffiths, having been dropped to the bench against Hamilton. The 20-year-old is the club’s top goalscorer this season with 18 goals from 34 games, and ended his eight-game goal drought in the league with his strike against Hamilton.
Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong should continue their midfield partnership after a dominant, controlling effort last time out. Armstrong also capped off his performance with a superbly-taken long-range effort. He now has seven goals and four assists this season.
With only 13 league goals conceded since the start of the campaign, Brendan Rodgers should name the same back-four that has done so brilliantly to date. In the continued absence of Kieran Tierney, Emilio Izaguirre will continue at left-back, with Mikael Lustig and Erik Sviatchenko in the centre, and Cristian Gamboa on the right.
Midfield maestro Tom Rogic remains sidelined with an ankle injury, so cannot be called upon on Wednesday, but there is a chance he could be fit to play a small role against Rangers.
That means Scott Sinclair and Patrick Roberts continue in Celtic’s three-man attacking-midfield, with the pair contributing 15 goals and nine assists between them in all competitions this season. With Forrest back in action, Roberts could move into a central attacking role, allowing Forrest to take up position on the right-wing.
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