Celtic take on Hearts on Saturday afternoon, as they look to get back to winning ways in the Scottish Premiership.

Brendan Rodgers’ side will be feeling a lot better about things, due to their midweek win against Feyenoord in the Champions League at Celtic Park. They return to domestic duty this weekend, six days on from their 2-1 away defeat at the hands of Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, against Hearts, managed by former player Steven Naismith.

The visitors to Glasgow come into this game off the back of two straight defeats against Rangers and Aberdeen, though they had been on a run of four straight league wins before this dip in form, with Naismith and Lawrence Shankland being handed the Manager and Player of the Month awards for November respectively.

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With Rangers not playing in the league this weekend, it gives Celtic a chance to extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points with a win on Saturday. They will be hoping for more of the same against Edinburgh sides at home, as Celtic defeated Hearts’ biggest rivals Hibernian 4-1 last week at the same ground.

With all of that in mind, who will the manager elect to start this match? The Celtic Way’s Ryan McGinlay and Tony Haggerty have their say…

Ryan McGinlay

After the doom and gloom of Rugby Park last Sunday, Celtic have the chance to make the most of the feel-good factor surrounding the club following the Feyenoord win, with Gustaf Lagerbielke’s last-gasp header potentially being the shot in the arm the club needed to kick on this season.

Three days on, there will be some changes to the team, though you would expect most of the players who started on Wednesday will get the nod for this one too. One of these players will be Joe Hart, who will undoubtedly start between the sticks for Rodgers’ side. The veteran goalkeeper was immense for Celtic in Europe the other night, and what a way to go out if that was to be his final game in European competition. With big saves, good distribution and a calming presence at the back, Hart will continue as the first-choice goalkeeper for this one.

The defence presents an interesting conundrum for Rodgers and his staff. Liam Scales and Stephen Welsh performed admirably together against Feyenoord, yet the chances of that partnership continuing are very slim. You then throw in the Lagerbielke question, and whether or not his late goal – his first for the club – has earned him a starting berth for Hearts at home. A lot to weigh up, but it will be Cameron Carter-Vickers who partners Scales at the back for Celtic, following the latter’s Man of the Match performance against the Dutch champions. Concerning Carter-Vickers, if he is fit and ready to go, then he plays.

On either side of the centre-backs will be Greg Taylor and Alistair Johnston. There was a slight temptation to reward Mitchel Frame for his solid cameo on Wednesday, but Hearts bring about a threat in attack with the likes of Shankland and Kenneth Vargas, so Taylor remains. Watch this space in January, however, as it looks like the club are in the market for a new left-back. As usual, Johnston will be at right-back, with the Canada international coming off the back of his best European performance to date.

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The midfield is similarly interesting, as Tomoki Iwata has thrown a spanner into the works with his omission from training following his injury in midweek. Two positions are already spoken for in the midfield, as both captain Callum McGregor and star man Matt O’Riley are certain to star in this game. With Iwata unavailable, McGregor will drop back into his more familiar number six role, with O’Riley based in the number 10 position. The question is, who will be the third midfielder in this line-up? With no real standout options to speak of, it could well be Paulo Bernardo who starts this one, after playing around 70 minutes during the week for Celtic in Europe. With Reo Hatate still out, it is up to whoever is playing as that third midfielder to take their opportunity and run with it over several games. Bernardo will get that chance on Saturday.

Celtic have a Heart-breaker in their ranks, who has scored in his last EIGHT games against the Edinburgh side. His name is Kyogo Furuhashi, and he will be looking to get back in amongst the goals against what is statistically his favourite opponent. Celtic must fight fire with water here, as Hearts’ defenders will want a physical battle that Oh Hyeon-gyu would bring, therefore Kyogo must start. On the wing, there is a welcome return for Daizen Maeda, who has been out since the double jeopardy injury-red card he was inflicted by in Madrid. His movement, pace and tenacity have been a sore miss, making his return all the more needed, especially given the brutal fixture list that Celtic have to negotiate. Luis Palma will occupy the left wing, meaning Maeda will play on the right.

Celtic vs Hearts is always a tasty encounter, so expect goals from both sides. Three points is a must when the clock strikes five on Saturday evening.

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

Tony Haggerty

Celtic return to Scottish Premiership duty after feasting on the delights of a Champions League win.

The 2-1 victory over Feyenoord brought the curtain down on a group-stage campaign that left the Scottish champions with more questions than answers. What cannot be argued is that the players on Wednesday night stepped up to the plate and produced under pressure when it mattered. Rodgers certainly has a lot of pondering to do when it comes to his team selection as the men in maroon from the capital come calling.

Hart will remain between the sticks and Johnston will be deployed at right-back with Taylor on the left. Lagerbielke was the unlikely match-winning hero for the men in green and white in midweek and the Swede will be hoping that can be the catalyst to kick-start his Celtic career in earnest. However, he will have to play second fiddle to the returning Carter-Vickers who will partner Scales at the heart of the defence. Welsh who was also a standout against the Dutch side will have to be content with a place on the bench.

In midfield, the Northern Irishman has his work cut out to see who sits in the engine room alongside McGregor and O'Riley. The 50-year-old may well turn to Bernardo again for this one in the absence of the injured Iwata.

Up front, Celtic will stick with Palma on the left wing and Kyogo will want to continue his uncanny knack of netting a counter against the Tynecastle side. The Japanese striker has notched up eight strikes against Hearts in 11 domestic appearances.

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The biggest cheer of the day will undoubtedly come with the welcome return of Maeda from injury. How Celtic have missed the Japanese wide-man's unselfish work ethic and energy that he brings to the side. His wing play this season has brought about just two goals and two assists. Although he does possess the ability to create chances for his teammates as well as sniff out goals for the team cause.

Celtic will keep the feel-good factor going by winning by at least two clear goals and Kyogo to plunder goal number nine of his career against the Edinburgh team.

Tony's Team: Hart; A Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; McGregor, Bernardo, O'Riley; Maeda, Kyogo, Palma.