Ronny Deila has decided to go with Patrick Roberts today. His decision is a fantastic move, one that virtually assures our dominance in this, one of his most important games since becoming manager.
The Scottish Cup Final now beckons for Celtic.
This was a decision the manager had to get absolutely right, and I’m pleased to say that he’s done so. There was a minor scare yesterday when he talked about experience being the key to these games, which some thought hinted at leaving Roberts out of the team; fortunately these fears proved groundless, and we can look forward to seeing his dancing feet tear the Sevco defence to piece over 90 minutes of torture for them.
Two quibbles; there’s no place in the starting line-up for Kris Commons, who would have been an obvious asset to the team, knowing these type of fixtures as well as he does. It has to be said that some will view this as a final verdict on the midfielder, who has given Celtic so much in the last few years.
The midfield pairing of Brown and Bitton is not unexpected; the return of Johansen might be seen as a more controversial choice. Many of us had thought this game was perfect for the drive and skill of Tom Rogic, who is a sub. The central defence is, sadly, what we expected. There’s no Sviatchenko, which is bad. Playing him half fit would have been worse.
He did make the bench.
Leigh Griffiths starts up front. There is no place in the first 11 for Kazim-Richards, which would have been a suicidal move for a guy who’s not shown it as a player and has a reputation as a hot-head. This fixture could be volatile. Best not to take chances.
Celtic’s starting XI lines up thus:
Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Mulgrew, Tierney; Brown, Bitton; Roberts, Johansen, Mackay-Steven; Griffiths
Subs: Bailly, Armstrong, Kazim-Richards,Commons, McGregor, Rogic, Sviatchenko