New Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou will take control of his first competitive game in charge of the Hoops on Tuesday evening when FC Midtjylland arrive at Parkhead.

The Danish outfit will be looking to cause an upset in their Champions League second qualifying round first leg tie after losing their opening match of the new season over the weekend.

Postecoglou will be boosted by the return of several first team players following fitness concerns and off-field incidents, although some high-profile names won’t be available.

Will Celtic reach the group stages?

Yes, definitely!

Yes, definitely!

No way!

No way!

Brentford-bound Kristoffer Ajer appears to have played his last game for the Glasgow giants, while speculation continues to grow regarding the future of Olivier Ntcham.

The duo have been left out of Celtic’s Champions League squad, but Leigh Griffiths, James Forrest, Ryan Christie, Nir Bitton and Ismaila Soro will all be ready to play some part.

It’s set to be a tough task for the 51-time Scottish champions, and with so much riding on the outcome of this encounter, we expect few surprises from Postecoglou, albeit with some alterations from the team which started the weekend’s friendly defeat to Preston.

Here’s what we’re predicting…

Neither Vasilis Barkas nor Scott Bain covered themselves in glory last season, and both goalkeepers will be hoping for an opportunity to stake their claim to be first-choice in this one. We fancy Barkas to get the nod, and he could be called into action on a regular basis.

That’s because a very inexperienced back four is set to start in midweek. The departures of loanee full-backs Jonjoe Kenny and Diego Laxalt mean that Greg Taylor and Anthony Ralston will likely feature from the off against Midtjylland, but a very inexperienced centre-back partnership could cause Celtic supporters even more concerns.

The absence of £6.3m-rated Ajer due to his imminent exit and Christopher Jullien through injury has left two 21-year-olds as Postecoglou’s only available options. Stephen Welsh and Osaze Urhoghide are set to start the crucial qualifier on what will arguably be the biggest evening of their fledgling careers.

Guess the shirt numbers from Celtic’s famous 2002/03 UEFA Cup side. Let’s start with Mohammed Sylla…

A much more familiar-looking trio will occupy the Celtic engine room, though. Newly-appointed club captain Callum McGregor and the highly-rated David Turnbull could be selected to start either side of Soro, who impressed in the final few months of last season.

While the presence of Christie and Griffiths should come as a big boost to Celtic, the duo are likely to start on the bench, with Odsonne Edouard, Forrest and Albian Ajeti leading the line. Getting a positive result to take back to Denmark could prove pivotal to the Hoops’ chances of progression, and Postecoglou will be hoping that this talented trio come up with the goods.

In other news…Celtic receive boost in pursuit of “different class” £60k-p/w gem, Ange will love him 

Source link