Predicted Celtic XI to face Rangers: Game of poker with Kyogo Furuhashi, big Liel Abada call, too soon for Tom Rogic

A further layer of intrigue was delivered earlier in the week when Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou revealed that Kyogo Furuhashi is available to face Rangers on Sunday in the latest Old Firm clash.

Furuhashi has not played for Celtic since Boxing Day due to a hamstring injury, but the forward is now in a condition to play.

However, Postecoglou did caution that he may decide that this key cinch Premiership clash is not the right time to bring him back in. Regardless, it is very unlikely that Furuhashi will be chucked in at the deep end. Perhaps the Australian coach is playing a spot of mind games, but the Japanese is expected to be on the bench at best, and may not feature at all.

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The pressure in the striking department has been eased somewhat by the good form of Greek striker Giorgios Giakoumakis, who scored a hat-trick in his last outing and will lead the line in a 4-3-3 formation.

Giorgios Giakoumakis is expected to lead the line for Celtic at Ibrox.

Who flanks him is an area of debate. Jota looks earmarked for one of the berths, while Postecoglou will need to decide whether to go with the raw pace and movement of Daizen Maeda or entrust Liel Abada with one of the wing spots. With James Forrest injured and Mikey Johnston deemed a sub, it is between those two, with Maeda likely to get the nod after spurning international duty with Japan to stay in Glasgow the past two weeks.

Joe Hart will line up in goal, and with the back-four in front of him particularly settled right now, Josip Juranovic and Greg Taylor will be the full-backs and Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt in the middle.

Postecoglou is not going to deviate from his 4-3-3 formation, and with captain Callum McGregor and Reo Hatate filling two of the three midfield berths, Postecoglou must first decide whether he wants creativity or ballast. If the it’s the latter, then Nir Bitton may start, but if it’s the former, it’s a shoot-out between Matt O’Riley and Tom Rogic. Given the Australian has been battling injury, O’Riley might just get the nod.

Probable Celtic team (4-3-3): Hart; Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; McGregor, Hatate, O’Riley; Maeda, Giakoumakis, Jota.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has decisions to make on Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda.
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