Celtic are set to face Atletico Madrid tonight, in Matchday Four of the Champions League group stages.

Following their thrilling 2-2 encounter at Celtic Park a little under two weeks ago, Brendan Rodgers and his team travel to the Cívitas Metropolitano stadium in Spain’s capital city to take on Diego Simeone’s side in their own backyard. Kyogo Furuhashi and Luis Palma were the goalscoring heroes for Celtic, with Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata being the two players to get on the scoresheet for the visitors that night.

In three games thus far in the competition Celtic have only managed to pick up one point, in their last match against tonight’s opponents. This puts them bottom of the group, three points behind Lazio in third. Atletico currently sit in second place with five points, just a point less than leaders Feyenoord and one point more than the aforementioned Lazio, in what has been a tight group so far.

In terms of league form, Celtic have won two and drawn one game since their first encounter with the Spanish side. Simeone’s side were defeated 2-1 last time out against Las Palmas way from home, beating Alaves by the same scoreline in the game four days after their trip to Glasgow.

READ MORE: Celtic's Oh Hyeon-gyu analysed following Dingwall showing

To realistically get out of the group at all, Celtic will need to pick up maximum points, a big ask especially away from home against a well-organised Atletico Madrid outfit. Easier said than done, as the home side has a vast array of talent to call upon, if and when required during proceedings.

With all of that being said, who will start for Celtic in Spain’s capital city tonight? The Celtic Way’s Ryan McGinlay has his say…

Ryan McGinlay

No two ways about it, this is going to be a tall order for Rodgers and his team tonight. Despite picking up a well-deserved point in the reverse fixture, this is a whole other kettle of fish to deal with for Celtic.

Still, stranger things have happened, even on a football pitch, but several things have to transpire for that to be possible. Celtic have to be at their absolute best tonight but hope that the same Atletico Madrid side that turned up at Las Palmas arrives again at the Metropolitano, in all honesty. If that happens, then the visitors may be onto something, but a long night lies ahead for Celtic regardless of their opposition’s form.

Despite seeing a much-changed side up at Dingwall on Saturday, you would expect many of Celtic’s big hitters to return to the starting line-up for this evening’s match in the Spanish capital. One position that will not be seeing any changes bar a last-minute calamity is in goals, as Joe Hart will continue to operate between the sticks for the Scottish champions. It is not controversial to suggest that he will face just a few more shots than the three Ross County managed to muster on Saturday. If Celtic are to get anything from this match, then Hart will have to put on a performance for the ages, akin to his many good performances for Manchester City during his younger years in European competition.

One of Celtic’s rested players will return to the defence in the shape of Alistair Johnston, whilst Anthony Ralston will return to his usual spot on the bench for this one. Admittedly, Johnston’s form of late has been uncharacteristically patchy, though his application and willingness to win have never been in question. He will need to be back to his best for this one, as he will be no doubt heavily tested by some of Europe’s premier attackers in Atletico’s ranks. On the other side, Greg Taylor will have to put in a better showing than the last time he faced this side, as he was left exposed for the lead-up to both goals. Giving away the penalty and then failing to stop his runner for Morata’s header, the Scotland international will have to be on his A-game if Celtic are to gain anything from this one.

READ MORE: The Celtic Numbers: Stellar Liam Scales shines in Dingwall

In the middle of defence, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Liam Scales will continue their blossoming partnership, as both are in top form at the moment for the club. Touching on Scales individually, the fact that there is no doubt that he will be starting is a testament to how well he has done since stepping in due to an injury-hit defence. Now that Carter-Vickers has returned, it is an easy decision for Rodgers regarding who gets the nod at the back, as Celtic need to play their best-performing players for this game. At the moment, those two are the best options, so they will start the game in Madrid, and deservedly so.

Into the midfield, and you would assume that two out of the three available positions are already accounted for concerning Captain Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley. When both are fit, they automatically start for Celtic by default, so you would expect that to be the case against Atletico tonight. Known for his attacking prowess this season, O’Riley will have to put up a defensively resolute performance when he is chasing the ball. If he can do that, then hopefully he can make a difference at the other end of the pitch in terms of attack. With those two spots already spoken for, who will get the remaining starting berth at the Metropolitano? Despite scoring two goals in his last two games, David Turnbull will have to make do with the bench for this one, as Paulo Bernardo’s running and pressing off the ball is key for Celtic’s defensive efforts tonight. Although this is harsh on Turnbull, he simply does not give enough when off the ball to select him over the likes of Bernardo. That being said, he may have a role to play coming off of the bench later on in proceedings.

Thanks to his superb cameo at Dingwall, Palma has cemented himself in the starting XI for this game. He will be Celtic’s out ball for the duration of his time on the pitch, whilst Daizen Maeda will have to put in the hard yards defensively on the other side for the visitors. Oh Hyeon-gyu will return to the bench, as there is no way that he will start over Kyogo for such a mammoth game. Like Turnbull, he may have a role when entering the field of play later on, but Celtic’s talismanic figure in Kyogo will lead the line once again in Europe tonight. Hopefully, he can make it three goals in three games in the Champions League tonight…

Ryan's team: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; McGregor, Bernardo;  Maeda, O'Riley, Palma; Kyogo