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Four changes Brendan Rodgers could make ensure victory for Celtic against Rosenborg

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Brendan Rodgers

Celtic travel to Norway for Wednesday night’s second-leg match with Rosenborg BK, hoping to edge closer to the Champions League group stages.

After Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers watched his side struggle as they drew a blank against the Norwegian team last week at Celtic Park, he needs to find a solution to ensure their Champions League journey doesn’t end in Trondheim.

Here are four tactical changes Rodgers could make to prevent Celtic from having another disappointing result.

Utilise James Forrest as a striker

The last time the two teams faced each other, the absence of a striker hindered Celtic’s cause, with Leigh Griffiths both banned and unfit due to a calf strain and Moussa Dembele lost to a long-term injury. Although Griffiths is set to lead the line tomorrow, if he cannot last a full game, Rodgers should have no reservations in using James Forrest with Scott Sinclair.

Forrest proved in Celtic’s game against Sunderland on Saturday that he is more of a natural in the position than other player. Forrest can turn in tight spaces and finds it easier to spin in behind, having played as a striker as a youngster. If in trouble against Rosenborg, Rodgers can use this to his advantage.

Set-up with a back five

Celtic’s defence must be on top form on Wednesday evening, so another option for Rodgers is to line up with three at the back. Although Jozo Simunovic wasn’t on the pitch much last season, he could be called upon in Norway, to fulfil a role at the heart of the club’s back line. Mikael Lustig also has the ability to play centrally and after Kieran Tierney performed incredibly well in the heart of defence in Saturday’s match, Rogers could consider playing him there again.

Start Eboue Kouassi ahead of Olivier Ntcham

In their previous match against the Norwegians, Celtic struggled in the second half as attack-minded Olivier Ntcham struggled to cope with their quick passing moves. However, Eboue Kouassi showed in Saturday’s game that he flourishes in a role similar to that of Scott Brown, and this could definitely be advantageous to Rodgers in tomorrow’s game.

The 19-year-old can help Brown with his ability to play both offensively and defensively – something Celtic lacked the last time they faced their Norwegian opposition.

Give Callum McGregor the chance to impress

Callum McGregor is another player that proved his worth on Saturday. The 23-year-old bagged his triple after failing to make it off the bench in the first leg with Rosenborg, but Rodgers may consider using him this time around after putting ina  top quality shift. He has grown considerably during his time at Celtic.

I am currently studying for my honours degree in Journalism and love doing sports journalism in particular. I work for BBC Scotland as a Freelancer in radio and as a production runner. Working on radio shows including Off The Ball, SportSound and Get It On, and on productions like Sports Personality of the Year, The Mod and Proms in the Park. Outside of sports I have the odd review published for The Scottish Sun and I love to read, so I am also proud blogger of Page By Paige where I interview authors and review books. Being a big music fan I am also proud producer and presenter of The Verge on Radio ENRG.

Celtic

Celtic linked with Keiren Westwood, who snubbed Brendan Rodgers in 2015

The Sheffield Wednesday stopper rejected a move to Liverpool back in January 2015.

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Reports today are suggesting that Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood could be on his way out of Hillsborough. The Sun reports that the Owls could sell the keeper this summer after an injury-ravaged campaign. The 33-year-old has not played since December and will not play again this season because of a groin strain.

Three teams have been mentioned as interested in his services and one of them will not come as a surprise. Southampton and Leeds United are chasing him in England, whilst in Scotland, it is Celtic who are being linked with a move for the experienced goalkeeper.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has been here for before.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Back in January 2015, the Celtic boss was in charge at Liverpool. He had become increasingly frustrated with the performances of Simon Mignolet so decided it was time for a change. That change was to bring in Westwood.

The then 30-year-old stopper had been in fine form for Wednesday that season. Liverpool, therefore, wanted to take him to Anfield to try and improve the goalkeeper position.

But he turned the move down. As reported by The Mirror the Irishman rejected the move as he was happy with Wednesday, stating:

“They gave me the chance to kick-start my career again, and I’m really happy to be here.”

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Now Rodgers might finally have the chance to get his man.

The Republic of Ireland international would surely relish the chance to join Celtic. The Bhoys also need a new keeper, with Dorus De Vries clearly not up to the task of replacing Craig Gordon when the number one is injured. Scott Bain is currently between the sticks, but only on loan, so Westwood would be a shrewd acquisition.

Time will tell if Rodgers is left disappointed yet again.

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Daniel Sturridge is the bold transfer target Celtic must target this summer

The Liverpool-owned striker has had a torrid time and a fresh start with Celtic could be perfect remedy.

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It has been another season to forget for Daniel Sturridge. The England striker found himself out of favour at Liverpool after a string of injury-ravaged campaigns. Jurgen Klopp instead used him as a bit-part player. Therefore, in hope of a late surge toward the England World Cup squad, Sturridge headed out on loan in January. He went to aid the relegation fight at West Brom. Unfortunately, lady luck is not kind to the Liverpool-owned player.

Sturridge played just three times for the Baggies before picking up a hamstring injury.

In the summer he needs a fresh start and Scottish giants Celtic are the perfect club to give him just that.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 01: Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal with Manager Brendan Rodgers during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on September 01, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Celtic have had it all their own way in recent years. This season it seems Brendan Rodgers will again guide his side to the Scottish Premiership title. However, next term looks like it is going to be a far greater challenge for the Bhoys.

Rangers look resurgent, Aberdeen are strong, Hearts have an exciting group of young players whilst Neil Lennon and Steve Clarke are doing great jobs at Hibernian and Kilmarnock.

Celtic need to stamp their authority as the number one team in Scotland in the transfer market this summer, especially with concerns over the future of Tom Rogic and Scott Sinclair.

One year ago the idea of signing Sturridge seemed fanciful for Celtic. Now it is a deal that really could happen.

Brendan Rodgers is a huge advocate for the forward. He knew him from his time at Chelsea and turned him into a goal-machine during their time at Liverpool.

during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at Etihad Stadium on January 31, 2018 in Manchester, England.

Sturridge is a massive name and, when fit, one of the best strikers in Europe. Celtic are a massive club, despite what football fans south of the border might like to make out.

Sturridge would surely jump at the chance to play for a club in the Champions League with the prestige that the Bhoys carry. Such an opportunity would surely make him consider a wage-cut, whilst Celtic would also want some assurances in any deal of cover if injury troubles persisted in Glasgow.

In the past Celtic have lured the likes of Roy Keane, Craig Bellamy and Robbie Keane to Parkhead when not many thought they could. This summer Rodgers should be bold and send out a message by bringing Sturridge to Glasgow.

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£2m Celtic target in 2016, Wout Weghorst is now a Dutch international

The AZ Alkmaar striker made his international debut this week.

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In January of 2016 Celtic identified the striker target they wanted to bring in to counteract the lack of impact of summer arrival Nadir Ciftci. The player in question was Heracles Almelo striker Wout Weghorst, with The Scotsman suggesting he could be a Celtic player for a fee of £2 million.

A towering figure at 6ft 4ins tall Weghorst was in good form with the Eredivisie club and Celtic’s interest looked promising.

However, the Dutchman did not head to Glasgow and in the summer headed to Dutch rivals AZ Alkmaar as a replacement for the Tottenham Hotspur-bound Vincent Janssen.

ALKMAAR, NETHERLANDS – MARCH 02: Team mate, Wout Weghorst runs towards Goalkeeper, Tim Krul of AZ Alkmaar as he celebratres saving the final penalty in the shoot out to win the Dutch KNVB Cup Semi-final match between AZ Alkmaar and SC Cambuur held at AFAS Stadion on March 2, 2017 in Alkmaar, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

It is fair to say Celtic are now regretting not signing the player. Weghorst has been in fantastic form since joining AZ. Last season he found the back of the net on 18 occasions and this season has been even more impressive for the 24-year-old.

Weghorst has scored 22 goals for AZ this season and that form has paid off with the ultimate accolade. With Janssen injured, Weghorst received his first call-up to the Netherlands national team. New manager Ronald Koeman went on to hand him his debut in the 1-0 loss against England in the week.

That January, when Celtic failed to secure a deal for Weghorst they did sign Colin Kazim-Richards who, along with Carlton Cole, did not fill any sort of striker void.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – MARCH 06: Colin Kazim-Richards of Celtic shoots at goal during the William Hill Scottish Cup Quarter Final match between Celtic and Greenock Morton at Celtic Park Stadium on March 6, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images)

Since then Celtic have done better in the transfer market. Scott Sinclair has added goals from attacking midfield whilst Moussa Dembele is a top talent.

But Weghorst is a different beast to both players and would have been an excellent asset for Celtic.

Now he is playing at international level for the Netherlands, Celtic would find it hard to convince the striker into a Parkhead switch.

If only the Bhoys could have secured his signature when they had the chance.

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