Celtic team v Hearts: Fans favourite could be reinstated and duo fit - is this Ange Postecoglou's line-up?
Celtic welcome Hearts on Thursday evening in the final fixture of round 16 in the cinch Premiership – with the chance to go clear in second place the carrot for the victors.
A draw would also maintain the Glasgow side’s position as closest rivals to leaders Rangers, and Ange Postecoglou has a growing pool of players to select from as injuries are overcome and fitness regained.
Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic will both be available again. but the game comes too quickly for Carl Starfelt and Giorgos Giakoumakis, who are out with hamstring and knee problems respectively. Greg Taylor and Christopher Jullien remain on the sidelines.
A return for Bitton, and the fan favourite Rogic, will lift Celtic like the return of James Forrest did at the end of last month. The Scotland winger replaced Liel Abada in the win over Aberdeen having made a scoring return at Hampden in the Premier Sports Cup semi-final and will be in the mix for the visit of Robbie Neilson’s side.
“I have been patient with him to get his body right because I knew once he was fit, he is a quality player,” Postecoglou said, believing Forrest will complement his side’s developing style.
The trio can be thrown into the selection mix for his third meeting with Hearts this season. The first, at Tynecastle on the opening day of the season match was won by the Edinburgh side but Celtic gained revenge in the Premier Sports Cup.
Predicted Celtic line-up: Hart, Juranovic, Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Welsh, Turnbull, Bitton, McGregor, Forrest, Furuhashi, Jota.Subs from:Bain, Rogic, McCarthy, Abada, Ajeti, Johnston, Soro, Montgomery, Scales, Shaw, Urhoghide, Barkas.