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Celtic predicted XI v Sparta Prague: Neil Lennon drops £5m man, £18k-a-week ace back in

(Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Celtic predicted XI v Sparta Prague: Neil Lennon drops £5m man, £18k-a-week ace back in

Celtic are back in Europa League action on Thursday night and if Neil Lennon’s to reduce the huge pressure he’s under, then the Hoops must deliver a great performance and get a good result.

Easier said than done, however, given the fixture is Sparta Prague away, the Czechs having beaten the Bhoys 4-1 at Parkhead earlier this month.

Celtic are in dire straits at present, sitting bottom of Group H on one point and, more worryingly, 11 points adrift of Rangers in the Premiership table, albeit with two games in hand.

So, who could Lennon pick for the game in Prague?

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Scott Bain might have conceded 15 goals in the eight games he’s played in since replacing Vasilis Barkas, but he didn’t actually do too badly against Hibs – Lennon is likely to keep him in between the sticks.

In defence, Christopher Jullien is in line to start after returning to full training, and especially given Celtic’s issues at the back, we expect the £18,000-a-week ace to return to the XI right away.

 

He’ll likely be paired with Kristoffer Ajer at centre-back, while Diego Laxalt and Jeremie Frimpong, two of the Hoops’ better performers in recent weeks, will also remain in the line-up.

Scott Brown may still be in poor form but let’s face it, he’s unlikely to come out of the XI, so we expect him and Callum McGregor to line up in the middle once again.

The trio in front Brown and McGregor is unlikely to be changed either, with Mohamed Elyounoussi, Tom Rogic, Ryan Christie likely keeping their places.

Although Rogic struggled against Hibs, he’s been one of Celtic’s standout players in recent weeks and hopefully his creativity will come to the fore on Thursday.

Finally, we expect Albian Ajeti to drop out of the XI following his poor display last time out, the £5million summer signing replaced by Odsonne Edouard.

Celtic predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Bain; Frimpong, Jullien, Ajer, Laxalt; Brown, McGregor; Christie, Rogic, Elyounoussi; Edouard

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