By Alex McLeish

19th Dec, 2020 | 8:30am

Pundit Exclusive: Lennon tipped to axe two Celtic players from XI v Hearts

Alex McLeish has insisted Neil Lennon will axe at least two players to bring Scott Brown and Ryan Christie back into the Celtic starting XI against Hearts.

The former Rangers and Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has suggested the midfield pair are nailed on to start in Sunday’s rescheduled Scottish Cup final despite having both started on the bench for the Hoops’ last two games.

Brown did not feature against either Lille or Kilmarnock, while Christie played 21 minutes in the 2-0 win over their Premiership rivals.

However, despite the impressive performances of fringe players David Turnbull and Ismaila Soro, McLeish believes at least two players face the axe ahead of Sunday.

Asked if Lennon would keep Brown, Christie and Tom Rogic out the starting XI for the final, McLeish told Football Insider: “I don’t see it. I believe these players will play. 

“Tom, he’s not been, in the grand scheme of things, he’s not been in there consistently but in recent games, he has come up with the goods.

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“So, that will be probably the hardest choice, I think, but I would say Brown and Christie will definitely come back.”

Victory at Hampden Park will give Celtic their fourth consecutive domestic treble after beating Rangers to both the Scottish League Cup and the Premiership title last season.

However, the Bhoys have already been knocked out of the League Cup this season after a shock defeat to Ross County.

In other news, two Celtic stars are set to be shown the door after major Parkhead development, a Football Insider pundit has claimed.