GLASGOW SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 20: Gary Hooper of Celtic celebrates after scoring his first goal during the Clydesdale Bank Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on February 20 2011 in Glasgow Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Having gone 11 games unbeaten, Celtic are in fine form ahead of Wednesday's Old Firm clash. Ross Dunbar previews the match from a Celtic angle.
Celtic go into Wednesday’s clash as the in-form side after going 11 games without defeat since their 3-3 draw with Kilmarnock in October. The Hoops were 3-0 down at Rugby Park at half time but a second half revival has galvanised Neil Lennon’s side who are high on confidence ahead of the Old Firm match.
In the Scottish Premier League, Lennon’s men have won eight games on the bounce with some narrow victories against Hearts and Dundee United, as well as, a superb European performance against Udinese in Italy.
Celtic have a few selection worries at the back with Daniel Majstorovic out for six weeks with a broken cheekbone and Glenn Loovens also on the sidelines. Majstorovic picked up his injury in the 2-0 win over St Johnstone last week and will be a massive blow to the Hoops. English defender Kelvin Wilson has spent a spell on the treatment table and Wednesday’s match will come too soon for the former Nottingham Forest man.
Honduran left-back Emilio Izaguirre has been a huge miss for Celtic since breaking his ankle at Pittodrie against Aberdeen at the start of the season but he made a recent return to training and was on the bench against Kilmarnock.
Neil Lennon is expected to stick with his favoured 4-4-2 formation following Celtic’s impressive run of form since October. Lennon has been boosted by the return of captain Scott Brown and has managed to revert to the usual balance of Brown on the right-hand side with Beram Kayal and Ki in the middle and James Forrest on the left.
However, the Celtic manager has some serious worries at the back with Thomas Rogne the only recognised centre-back available for selection on Wednesday. Although, on Saturday, Lennon opted to start Charlie Mulgrew and Victor Wanyama in defence and both have had experience of filling in at centre-back this season.
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Celtic’s Scottish winger James Forrest has been in excellent form for the Bhoys this season and has been one of their stand-out performers. The 20-year-old is comfortable on either foot and has caused havoc for SPL defences this campaign with direct running and a good end product.
Forrest has played on the right-hand side for Celtic this season in Scott Brown’s absence but with the Celtic midfielder back from injury, Forrest will likely move over to the left-hand side where he will be up against Steven Whittaker.