Forrest starts, £14k-p/w ace axed as Ange has big calls to make: Predicted Celtic XI – opinion

Forrest starts, £14k-p/w ace axed as Ange has big calls to make: Predicted Celtic XI – opinion

Celtic will be aiming to advance into the final of the Scottish League Cup when they take on St Johnstone at Hampden Park this evening.

The Hoops are currently enjoying an eight-game unbeaten run under the tutelage of Ange Postecoglou and they’ll be hoping to continue their good form at the national stadium.

In-form centre-back Stephen Welsh declared himself fit after being substituted due to a knock in Scotland under-21s’ 2-0 defeat to Belgium in midweek, so he will be available for selection against the League Cup holders this weekend.

Postecoglou shouldn’t have any fresh fitness concerns to contend with, leaving him with some pleasant selection headaches ahead of kick-off.

With that in mind, here’s how Football FanCast expects the 56-year-old to line up his team against the Saints, with two changes from the side which started last time out…

In goal, former England number one Joe Hart is expected to keep his place between the sticks after an impressive start to life in Scotland, keeping both Scott Bain and Vasilios Barkas on the sidelines.

Ahead of the veteran shot-stopper will be a familiar back four which has put in some improved performances of late. Josip Juranovic, Welsh, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Stephen Ralston have started to gel as a defensive unit in recent weeks, although Celtic have conceded four goals in their last two outings, something that Postecoglou will surely be keen to address.

The midfield could see an experienced head make a rare appearance from the off, given the occasion. Summer signing James McCarthy has only started three times throughout 2021/22, but he could replace the £14,000-per-week Nir Bitton at the base of the engine room, providing a calming influence behind Callum McGregor and David Turnbull.

Attackers Jota and Kyogo Furuhashi have been in scintillating form this season, bagging a combined 19 goals already in all competitions. The devastating duo may be joined by 30-year-old James Forrest along the forward line, with his previous experience in semi-finals potentially pivotal in this intriguing clash.

In other news… Ange must unleash “incredible” £2.7m-rated Celtic maestro, he’s a “class player”