Aberdeen v Celtic, ESPN/The Internet - 7.45pm

Tonight’s game is, quite simply, massive. Minus all centre backs, Celtic need to score first to avoid giving them any encouragement.

Juarez, Wilson, Mulgrew, Izaguirre,
Brown, Kayal, Ledley, Commons,
Stokes, Hooper.

A booking for Brown, Kayal or Stokes would see them suspended for the derby on February 20th.

What’s the story with Cha and Ki Bandage? Are they in the matchday squad. Could do with Cha on the bench to cover the back 4, ridiculous as that sounds. I imagine Ledley may be an emergency defender otherwise, he’s capable of playing full back anyway.

Think that should be the team anyway. Strikers are in great form. Commons and Brown give us goals and solidity from the flanks, Commons looks good on set pieces too.

I shall be entertaining the DART carriage with rebel tunes on full blast from my phone on the way home.

C’mon the sons of Erin.

Ki and Cha are not yet back with the squad according to reports. I don’t imagine they were given a huge amount of time off after the Asian Cup and their semi-final elimination was last midweek so I’d expect them to be back in training ahead of this weekend’s game.

Aberdeen will be a much stronger proposition on their own ground. I accept them to hit plenty of long diagonal balls to the right hand side of our defence where they’ll look to exploit Juarez and Wilson in the air. Vernon is decent in the air and scored from a header against us on Saturday. Maguire also made plenty of outside to in runs from their left wing in the second half on Saturday and had that opportunity when he rounded Forster but struck it over the bar.

I really think our midfield needs to boss this game. I’m much more confident of that happening now that Lennon has belatedly ditched the two out and out winger selection. The combination of Kayal, Ledley and Brown tucked in on the right has made us far more solid and we’ve been dominating possession. We need to do that again and protect the back four.

Celtic Team Tonight:
Juarez, Wilson, Mulgrew, Izaguirre;
Brown, Kayal, Ledley, Commons;
Hooper, Stokes.

Subs: Zaluska, Ljungberg, Murphy, Keatings, McCourt, Carey & Toshney.

Starting XI as expected. Toshney is a centre back from the U19 squad.

Who is Keatings

James. Prolific U19 team midget striker.

Need 3 U21s in an SPL match day squad. Rogne is a starter but is injured so we need to load the bench with children.

Stokes, Kayal and Brown are certs for very soft bookings tonight. I am already envisaging another unbelievable display of bias from the match officials much like our last midweek away game.

I actually expect it at this stage. Would be great to bury them in the first half and then rest players but I expect a tough game here and I’m anticipating the midfielders being booked for their first tackle.

Good ESPN coverage link here:

You can only be nervous about that centre half partnership. They have Blackman back tonight as well so they’re a bit more threatening up front.

Lennon just saying that a deal fell through at the last minute last night for someone other than Faye. No idea who that would have been.

Lennon was very forthright and determined there. Hopefully that message has been transmitted across to the players because we can’t underestimate them. They’ll surely wire in from the whistle and try to respond to Saturday. I’d worry about the mentality of a couple of our players tonight - they need to be spot on.

Good point Bandage.

Thankfully I went to the trouble of listening to the rebel tunes on the DART in to work and on the DART home today. Now that’s not putting myself out or anything but sometimes you can take these games lightly and watch an episode of The Shield on the way home and not be properly psyched. Need to take this fucking seriously. And I assume the players will have the same attitude.

I’d be concerned about Juarez and Wilson. And also, quite surprisingly maybe, Stokes - he’s scored a lot lately but he was doing flicks and toe taps at 4-0 the other day and he strikes me as quite an immature character. Need him to be sharp and concentrated.

What a fucking pass.

Ah fuck Anto. 10 men for 89 mins is a great boost though.

What a start. Need to put the penalty miss behind us. Quality play by Hooper. Stokes always goes to the other side but might have switched corners because he scored from a penalty on Saturday against Langfield.

It was a quality first touch by Brown too in fairness to him. Super ball but first touch won the penalty and the card.
Important not to dwell on that alright.

Some nice, crisp triangles between Izzy, Ledley and Commons so far.

What a fucking goal

Great goal