Rangers

By Matt Farr

Brendan Rodgers should drop striker Moussa Dembele from his Celtic side to face St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Wednesday.

Rodgers has done very well to rotate his two strikers over the course of the campaign, whilst keeping them both in good touch; but Leigh Griffiths has now missed Celtic’s last two games – and could do with the opportunity.

Nir Bitton should also miss out. The 25-year-old Israel international has suffered from a lack of regular first-team appearances of late, and is not the best option available to partner Scott Brown in the midfield.

He should make way for Celtic alongside defenders Dedryck Boyata and Cristian Gamboa.

In total, the former Liverpool boss should be looking to make four changes, with Patrick Roberts, Jozo Simunovic, Erik Sviatchenko and Griffiths all returning to the fray.

Though their only major defensive test has come in European competitions, Celtic have built much of their success this season on a strong defensive base.

Craig Gordon has been exceptional in goal for Celtic, keeping 17 clean sheets from 34 appearances in all competitions, while Kieran Tierney, Mikael Lustig and Erik Sviatchenko have all been regulars.

The Hoops have conceded only 14 league goals this season, and have four clean sheets from their last six Premiership games.

With Jozo Simunovic returning to the line-up, the versatile Lustig should return to his more familiar role at right-back.

Stuart Armstrong has shot to prominence this season, and his impressive midfield partnership with Scott Brown must not be tampered with.

The 24-year-old put in yet another sound display in the recent victory over Albion, showcasing his dynamism, intensity and energy. He has nine goals and five assists this season.

Brown, meanwhile, is set to make his 400th appearance for the club, which is a remarkable achievement. Only 26 players in the club’s entire history have made more.

Celtic’s attacking-midfield trio should see Rodgers put all his cards on the table, and line up with his three best assets.

Scott Sinclair, James Forrest and Patrick Roberts are all stars in the wide areas, but for the sake of seeing them all perform together as a unit, the latter should be deployed in a more central role.

Of Celtic’s 37 fixtures in all competitions this season, the trio have started just one game together – a narrow 1-0 win over Kilmarnock on November 18.

But they are the main creative hub for Celtic, and Rodgers should take full advantage against a St. Johnstone side that has won just two of their last 10 league matches this season.

The form of Moussa Dembele may hand the 20-year-old the advantage in the race to lead the line for Celtic, but Rodgers should turn instead to Leigh Griffiths on Wednesday.

Celtic can move 22 points clear of Old Firm rivals Rangers with a win on Wednesday, which will maintain their unbeaten domestic run since the very start of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure.

In other Celtic news, Scottish rivals Aberdeen are lining up a move for this young Celtic player.

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