Celtic team v Hearts: Surprise start as Ange Postecoglou makes decision on James Forrest return

Ange Postecoglou had a selection headache of a positive kind for this evening’s visit of Hearts to Celtic Park.

Celtic's James Forrest. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

The return from injury of Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic added to his selection options, and the boss has also been phasing James Forrest back from his longer-term absence.

However his options became even more complicated – again in a good way – with the surprise return of Swedish defender Carl Starfelt who was declared fit after a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

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It wasn’t all positive news for the Australian though with Giorgos Giakoumakis still unavailable, joining Greg Taylor and Christopher Jullien on the treatment table.

With the returning trio at his disposal and extra options to choose from, the Celtic boss has made his decision ahead of the second SPFL Premiership meeting with Hearts this season – and after a win over Aberdeen including Liel Abada and James McCarthy in midfield, he has selected his line-up which predictably includes this season’s Celtic stand-outs Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota in attack.

Robbie Neilson’s side won the opening night fixture at Tynecastle but Postecoglou will unleash both Forrest and Rogic from the start as he seeks a repeat of the Premier Sports Cup triumph over the Gorgie side with Starfelt replacing Cameron Carter-Vickers in the backline.

A win would cut the lead of Rangers in top spot back to four points, and a draw would keep Celtic in second two points ahead of their visitors.

Celtic: Hart, Ralston, Starfelt, Welsh, Juranovic, McGregor, Forrest, Turnbull, Rogic, Kyogo, Jota.

Subs from: Bain, Bitton, Ajeti, Abada, McCarthy, Johnston, Montgomery.