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Predicted Celtic XI tonight: £23k-a-week star out; 20-year-old drafted in

Hibernian v Celtic - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic

Predicted Celtic XI tonight: £23k-a-week star out; 20-year-old drafted in

Celtic are back in Europa League action tonight and will hope to see the campaign out on a high amid increasing pressure on Neil Lennon’s position as manager.

The Hoops’ season continues to go from bad to worse, having exited the Europa League and League Cup as well as being 13 points off the Premiership summit.

Celtic face Lille at Parkhead tonight but cannot finish higher than bottom, while the French side will hope to pip second-placed AC Milan to top Group H, with just one point between the two.

So, who could Lennon pick in his starting XI tonight?

St. Mirren v Celtic - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Given the outcome of the game is meaningless for Celtic but the manager desperately needs a good display to prove he’s the right man going forward, now is his time to gamble.

In terms of potential absences, Nir Bitton, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Olivier Ntcham are doubts, while James Forrest and Mikey Johnston remain out.

 

Lennon also confirmed ahead of the match that Patryk Klimala, David Turnbull and Ismaila Soro are likely to get game time against Lille.

Big-money summer signing Vasilis Barkas is likely to keep his place in between the sticks and accrue more minutes in hope of finding good form.

In defence, Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien are likely to start, and Lennon could also try deploying 20-year-old Stephen Welsh in a back three.

At wing-back, Jeremie Frimpong is likely to be on the right, while Greg Taylor could be utilised on the left to give Diego Laxalt a rest.

In midfield, Scott Brown really could do with a rest, so we predict the £23,000-a-week star will drop out, with Soro coming in instead.

Callum McGregor should keep his place, while Turnbull could be deployed at No. 10 behind Albian Ajeti and Klimala, meaning Odsonne Edouard also gets a rest.

Celtic predicted XI v Lille (3-5-2): Barkas; Welsh, Jullien, Ajer; Frimpong, Soro, Turnbull, McGregor, Taylor; Ajeti, Klimala

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