Celtic take on Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership, as they take to the field for the first time in 13 days following the international break.

Brendan Rodgers will be hoping for more of the same from his players, who dismantled Aberdeen 6-0 just under two weeks ago at Celtic Park. The hosts have a chance to open up an 11-point lead at the top of the table, with Rangers not playing until Sunday afternoon against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

The visitors to Glasgow are on a torrid run of form, their last win coming against Hearts at the start of September. Manager Stuart Kettlewell has been speaking in the media about the “disgrace” of managers getting the sack, though he will be well aware of the mounting pressure on him and his side.

With all of that being said, who will Rodgers select to start for Celtic in their first game back? Our writers have their say…

Ryan McGinlay

As much as the Scotland national team have been a nice distraction over the past couple of weeks, it is good to see the bread and butter return to the fold in the shape of domestic football. It feels like forever ago that Celtic were hitting Aberdeen for six, just a few days after they felt that same infliction at the Metropolitano in Madrid.

With a European game fresh on the horizon in the shape of Lazio in Rome, it will be interesting to see who the manager picks ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash. Some positions will pick themselves, but other areas are contentious, to say the least.

One position that will remain occupied by the same person for both games you would imagine is in goals, where Joe Hart will ply his trade as always between the sticks. It will be interesting to see if this is a position that Celtic will look to strengthen in the January market, or if they will wait till the summer to make the necessary adjustments. Either way, the veteran has been in decent form, and will not be moved as Celtic’s number one.

In terms of the outfield defenders, there is a slight temptation to mix it up a bit, given players have been away on international duty. As Alistair Johnston only returned to the squad on Friday, Rodgers may well elect to go for Anthony Ralston in the right-back position, with Greg Taylor playing on the opposite side. With Johnston needed defensively for Tuesday’s European exploits, Ralston will take his place for this one. No surprises who will play in the centre of defence, as Liam Scales and Cameron Carter-Vickers will both continue their formidable partnership in the heart of Rodgers’ back-line.

The midfield has two of its three spots spoken for already, as Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley are sure-fire starters for this game as always. O’Riley will be especially delighted to be back, no doubt with a spring in his step after making his international debut for Denmark during the week. The captain also put in a Player of the Match performance in Scotland’s 3-3 draw with Norway at Hampden. The question is: who will join this midfield pair? Despite not fully taking his opportunity against Aberdeen, Odin Thiago Holm will be given another chance to impress. Rodgers name-dropped him at the AGM - saying game-time will improve the player – so the Norwegian will start in between McGregor and O’Riley in the number eight position.

In part due to international exploits – or lack of – Kyogo Furuhashi will lead the line for Celtic for this one, despite Oh Hyeon-gyu scoring a brace in his substitute appearance against Aberdeen. With no word on his knock, you would assume the Japan striker has shaken it off.

There will be some South Korean representation in the starting line-up, however, as Yang Hyun-jun will play on the right-hand side. The tricky winger will be hoping to display a similar performance to the one he managed 13 days ago as the 21-year-old dazzled, especially in the opening 45 minutes of the game. Despite making the point about Johnston not travelling back late, Luis Palma will play on the other side of the wing for the club. Even more so, considering the Honduran is suspended for Tuesday’s game due to an accumulation of yellow cards picked up. With that in mind, Palma will look to continue his fine vein of form from the starting line-up against the Steelmen.

Ryan's team: Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Scales; Taylor; McGregor, Holm; Yang, O'Riley, Palma; Kyogo


Tony Haggerty

Club football is back. Shout it from the rooftops.

The champions entertain a struggling Motherwell at Celtic Park and Rodgers' side certainly won't be in a charitable mood. The Northern Irishman will want his men to pick up the cudgels from their last domestic outing at home when they hammered Aberdeen 6-0. The hosts also have the chance to move 11 points ahead of Rangers albeit for 24 hours with Philippe Clement's team heading to Pittodrie to take on the Reds on Sunday.

Rodgers' main selection dilemma will be with the returning Palma and Johnston. Both were in action for their countries Honduras and Canada in midweek and didn't report back to Lennoxtown until Friday.

With that in mind, Rodgers will tinker with his starting selection slightly. In goal will be Hart and I fully expect Ralston to come in at right back in place of Johnston, who will have to be content with a spot on the bench. He will be ably assisted by Taylor at left back and the go-to pairing of Carter-Vickers and Scales at right and left centre back respectively.

In the midfield, Holm will get another chance to see what he is all about in the engine room and he will be deployed alongside McGregor and O'Riley who is fresh from celebrating receiving his first full international cap for Denmark.

Up front, Palma will be given the nod unlike Johnston to start proceedings bearing in mind that the Honduran wide man won't be taking any part in the midweek Champions League encounter against Lazio in Rome due to suspension. Palma is beginning to hit his stride and he will certainly hope that he can follow up his man-of-the-match display against the Dons - where he notched a penalty and contributed three assists to the cause - with another scintillating performance. Yang will feature once again on the right wing and he'll be looking to add to his goals tally after getting off the mark in the last home encounter.

They will be charged with aiding and abetting Kyogo who will have recovered sufficiently from his head knock sustained in the Aberdeen game which prevented him from going on international duty with Japan. Kyogo will be searching for his 10th goal of the season in all competitions and few would bet against him notching it.

Rodgers will just ask for more of the same from Celtic and if they can produce then it will all add up to a long afternoon for Kettlewell's Steelmen.

Tony's team: Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; McGregor, Holm, O'Riley; Palma, Kyogo, Yang