Celtic welcome Dundee to Celtic Park at 3pm on Saturday afternoon. The reigning Scottish Premiership champions will be aiming to seal three vital points and ensure they remain on top of the league table ahead of closest challengers Aberdeen.
Brendan Rodgers’ side entered the international break on the back of an underwhelming 2-2 draw at home to Hibernian, who were inspired from the touchline by former Bhoys boss Neil Lennon. They will be hoping for more than that this weekend, but will have to make do without several key players.
Jozo Šimunović, Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong are integral to the Celtic spine, but all three are set to miss out against Dundee. They are likely to be joined by Anthony Ralston and Tom Rogic, who has been on international duty with Australia.
Speaking ahead of the game, Rodgers said: “Jozo, like Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong, is very unlikely to be involved against Dundee on Saturday but all three should train and hopefully be ready for (next week’s Champions League clash with) Bayern Munich.
“[Brown and Armstrong] are great, they have come through very well and will join the squad tomorrow for training. Maybe too soon for Saturday but certainly they should be fine for Bayern Munich.
“We are still waiting on Tom Rogic, he has a way to go. He normally arrives the day before so he should be back tomorrow. It is very difficult when he has had the travel he has had…Normally when he gets back he needs to recover for at least 48 hours so I think Dundee will be soon for him.”
These players will join longer term absentees Erik Sviatchenko and Eboue Kouassi on the sidelines, posing a tactical dilemma for Rodgers to solve.
He experimented with a back three against Hibernian and will likely retain faith in the defensive shape this weekend. Craig Gordon will be protected by a trident of Kieran Tierney, Mikael Lustig and Dedryck Boyata.
In front of them, Nir Bitton should occupy the holding role in Brown’s absence, with Olivier Ntcham coming in alongside Callum McGregor. Patrick Roberts and Scott Sinclair could then support a front two of Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembélé.
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