Hibernian vs Celtic: Celtic aiming to extend 100% domestic record
Getty Images/Ian MacNicol

Hibs go into this game on the back of a dismal run of form which has lead to manager Paul Heckingbottom being under intense pressure especially after a heavy 6-1 defeat to Rangers and most recently, a 2-1 defeat to bitter rivals Hearts just last weekend in the Edinburgh derby at Easter Road despite being 1-0 up.

Hibs currently lie second from bottom in the SPFL Premiership table having only scored 5 goals all season and have not won since a scrappy 1-0 win to St. Mirren on the opening day of the season.

Celtic on the other hand go into this game in excellent form, after a 5-0 win to Partick Thistle in midweek in the League Cup to maintain their 100% domestic win record this season Celtic have now scored 51 goals so far domestically compared to 27 at this stage last season and are averaging around three goals per game.

Odsonne Edouard is in exceptional form upfront and Ryan Christie will aim to continue his recent goalscoring streak from midfield as Neil Lennon aims to extend Celtic's gap over second-place Rangers at the top of the SPFL Premiership.

Despite their excellent form this season, Celtic have struggled at Easter Road as of late with Celtic needing two late goals to beat Hibs at Easter Road in the Scottish Cup Quarter Finals last season, as well as losing twice at Easter Road in 2018 and being held to a 0-0 draw by Heckingbottom's side in April 2019.

Taking this into consideration, this might give Heckingbottom something to consider as he looks to get his Hibs' side away from the bottom half of the table. Will the Yorkshire-born manager spring another upset on the Celts?

Team News

Hibernian have the majority of their squad available for the game. Ryan Porteous is unavailable due to his midweek sending off. Potential absentees include Darren McGregor and Vykintas Slivka alongside long-term absentees David Gray and Martin Boyle.

Celtic are without Nir Bitton and Leigh Griffiths for Saturday's game through injury. Mikey Johnston and Marian Shved are back in training however are likely to miss Saturday's game as their recovery from injury continues. Longterm absentees Daniel Arzani and Kouassi Eboue are close to a return to action however are also likely to miss out but Jozo Simunovic remains on the sidelines. 

Predicted Lineup

Hibernian (4-5-1): Maxwell, James, Jackson, Hanlon, Stevenson, Mallan, Hallberg, Vela, Allan, Middleton, Doidge

Celtic (4-2-3-1): Forster, Bauer, Elhamed, Ajer, Bolingoli, Brown, McGregor, Elyounoussi, Christie, Forrest, Edouard

Key Clashes

Maxwell vs Forster: The Welsh goalkeeper could well be in for another busy afternoon, facing the pace, power and finesse of the Celtic front four and bench options for 90+ minutes will not be an easy task by any means. Forster will not be complacent either, having seen Stevie Mallan's wondergoal against Hearts last weekend he will be more than aware of the potential firepower this Hibs side possess.

Edouard vs Doidge/Kamberi: Edouard has been in exceptional form for Celtic this season, scoring five in five and creating all sorts of problems for Scottish defences and the Hibs defence will have to be on top form in order to be able to stop him. Neither of the Hibs strikers have really hit the ground running this season but Neil Lennon will be more than aware of the goalscoring capabilities of Swiss Striker Florian Kamberi.

Lennon vs Heckingbottom: Despite an initially tough start to the season, getting knocked out of the Champions League to Cluj at home Neil Lennon has come through to lead Celtic on an excellent run of form domestically and will aim to continue that run at the home of his former club. Heckingbottom may well be in the last chance saloon at Hibs following the derby defeat last week but it can be assured that he will have his squad ready to give everything for 90 minutes on Saturday.

Manager's quotes

Neil Lennon: "We're looking to keep the momentum going. The players are playing well and I was delighted with Wednesday. I've been very happy with our league form. We want to keep the performances at a good level." 

Paul Heckingbottom: "We've turned a corner, I really feel we've turned a corner with our performance on Wednesday night, you could see the players gave it everything even though we took the long way round and we will be ready to give everything again on Saturday."

 

 

 

 

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