Celtic expected 4-2-3-1 v St Johnstone: Four changes as midfielder set for landmark
By Matt Farr
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is expected to make four changes to his side to face St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Wednesday.
Fringe duo Dedryck Boyata and Nir Bitton are expected to drop out of the line-up, following their roles in the Scottish Cup victory over Albion on Sunday.
Patrick Roberts and Jozo Simunovic are set to return in their place, while Liam Henderson is also expected to come in at the expense of Cristian Gamboa.
All three players were benched against Albion, but are likely to return to their more familiar starting roles for their last meeting.
Rodgers will be reluctant to pass up the opportunity to go 22 points clear at the top of the table, so is expected to name another full-strength side – despite only a short time to rest between fixtures.
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Craig Gordon has been Celtic’s ever-present goalkeeper this term, and is expected to make his 34th appearance of the campaign. The 34-year-old has kept 17 clean sheets.
Left-back Kieran Tierney is also expected to continue, despite only just returning from a long-term injury lay-off. The Celtic fans were delighted to see their favourite back in action on Sunday, and he is set to be handed a second-consecutive start.
With Cristian Gamboa dropping to the bench, Mikael Lustig switches to the right-flank, allowing Jozo Simunovic to partner Erik Sviatchenko in the centre of the defence.
Rodgers is blessed with a wealth of defensive options, and will continue to rotate them here.
Liam Henderson is likely to come in for Nir Bitton, after sitting out the weekend’s proceedings. The 20-year-old has taken more of a backseat role at Parkhead this season, but remains a part of Rodgers’ plans.
He will partner 31-year-old skipper Scott Brown, who is set to make his landmark 400th appearance for the club.
The one change in the attacking quartet sees Patrick Roberts return in place of James Forrest. Both have been in exceptional form for Celtic this season, and provide fierce competition for the right-midfield spot.
However, it is the Manchester City loanee that is likely to get the nod against St. Johnstone, having been a substitute for his past three appearances.
Moussa Dembele is sure to lead the line to begin with, but as has often been the case, Rodgers is likely to call upon Leigh Griffiths at some stage. The pair have 33 goals between them this season.
In other Celtic news, Scottish rivals Aberdeen are lining up a move for this young Celtic player.