Predicted Celtic XI to face AC Milan in the Europa League
Celtic are set to kick off their Europa League group stage campaign with a highly-anticipated home fixture against Italian giants AC Milan on Thursday night. The Hoops will go into the Matchday 1 clash on the back of a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Rangers in the first Old Firm derby of the season.
AC Milan, meanwhile, are high on confidence after beating crosstown rivals Inter Milan 2-1, thanks to a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Rossoneri have won each of their last three meetings with Celtic by an aggregate scoreline of 6-0, meaning Stefano Pioli’s side will be the outright favourites in the midweek fixture.
Celtic overcame Sarajevo 1-0 at the playoff stage but Neil Lennon’s men could have their work cut out against Milan this week.
Ryan Christie, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Nir Bitton are all unlikely to feature due to positive Covid-19 tests while young winger Mikey Johnston remains on the sidelines to nurse his long-term injury. Star striker Odsonne Edouard is also expected to miss the Europa League tie against Milan.
Manager: Neil Lennon
Vasilios Barkas (GK)
The Greek shot-stopper had a rather poor outing in the Old Firm derby by his standards and will be expected to put in a better shift between the sticks on Thursday.
Christopher Jullien (RCB)
Celtic’s backline was breached far too easily by Rangers in the Frenchman’s absence and his return to the mix certainly comes as a massive boost to the Hoops.
Kristoffer Ajer (LCB)
The Norwegian was well below par on derby day and will surely need to pull up his socks to keep a potent Milan forward line at bay.
Shane Duffy (CB)
The Brighton loanee was given a reality check by Rangers on Saturday following a string of impressive displays before the international break. However, he remains a key cog in Celtic’s backline and should start this one.
Jeremie Frimpong (RWB)
The teenager wasn’t quite at his sparkling best in the last game but Lennon should continue to back him with regular starts.
Greg Taylor (LWB)
Laxalt looked way off the pace against Rangers and the Scottish international would probably be a safer pick in the Europa League tie.
Scott Brown (CM)
A bonafide witness to several famous European nights at Celtic Park, the Hoops will rely heavily on their veteran skipper to put in a captain’s shift in the middle of the park.
Callum McGregor (CM)
He was one of the very few players to come away with some credit in the derby defeat last week and remains a key asset to the midfield with his creativity and work rate.
Olivier Ntcham (CAM)
The Frenchman is likely to be handed another start in the No.10 role in the absence of Christie.
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Mohamed Elyounoussi (ST)
The Southampton loanee lacked enough end product in the derby defeat and will need to rise to the occasion if Celtic are to get the better of Milan on Thursday.
Albian Ajeti (ST)
Klimala posed little to no threat in the previous outing and Lennon might as well hand the Swiss international an opportunity to impress in the Europa League.