Celtic enjoyed a memorable night in Brussels on Wednesday, romping home to a comfortable 3-0 win over Anderlecht. Brendan Rodgers’ men dominated the ball and controlled the space, ensuring it was almost like a home match. All in all, it was a successful night in the Champions League.
But it wasn’t all plane sailing for the Bhoys.
Scott Brown limped off clutching his hamstring and is a serious doubt for the match against his old club Hibernian. The 32-year-old Celtic captain was examined by medics yesterday but will need a scan today before the full extent of the damage can be established.
Rodgers isn’t naive enough to risk his skipper, not when he has alternatives available. But who will get the nod for the match on Saturday afternoon?
Perhaps the most obvious choice would be Ntcham. The summer signing has impressed since moving to Glasgow and put in another solid performance in Belgium, just as we suggested he would when he signed. His incisive pass through to Keiran Tierney got Celtic in behind for the opener on Wednesday evening.
He covers the ground well, his positioning is intelligent and he’s diligent in his defensive duties. He would offer a similar physical presence to that of Brown, meaning Celtic wouldn’t be lacking fight in the middle third.
Armstrong started alongside Brown during the Old Firm derby and helped the Bhoys get a handle in midfield. He’s composed on the ball, clever with his movement when not in possession and just keeps things ticking over nicely in general.
He doesn’t offer the same bite as Brown but Celtic might not need that against Hibs, not if they intend to beat them playing football. Can he and Ntcham do a job together as a double pivot?
McGrgeor wouldn’t be a like for like replacement for Brown. He does his best work a little further forward. He picks up pockets in the half-space and links midfield to the attack.
But, as previously mentioned, if Celtic want to beat Hibernian playing football, they need players on the pitch capable of playing through a high, intense press, and McGregor can do that and them some.
Who gets the nod for you in midfield? Use our Predicted Line-ups feature to pick and share the side you would pick if you were Rodgers.
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