Celtic return to league action on Saturday, where they face St Johnstone at home in the Scottish Premiership.

After securing a spot at Hampden last week following their home win against Livingston in the Scottish Cup, Brendan Rodgers’ side faces Craig Levein’s St Johnstone, in their final game before the international break.

Earlier on in the season, the two sides played out a drab 0-0 draw in Glasgow, whilst Celtic beat the hosts 3-1 in Perth last December. The champions will be hoping to get back to the top of the table – albeit potentially for under 24 hours – as they can go a single point clear of league leaders Rangers with a victory, due to Philippe Clement’s side’s trip to Dundee the following day.

St Johnstone currently sit in ninth in the Scottish Premiership table, four points clear of the relegation play-off spot currently occupied by Ross County. Their last result was a 1-1 draw with bottom side Livingston nearly two weeks ago, due to Scottish Cup action the following weekend. A team that looked destined for the drop, the former Scotland, Dundee United and Hearts manager has done a good job in lifting them out of relegation trouble for the time being.

With all of that being said, who will start for Celtic in this must-win clash? The Celtic Way’s Ryan McGinlay and Tony Haggerty have their say…

Ryan McGinlay

Same situation, different week for Rodgers and his side on Saturday.

In short, Celtic have got to win every game from now until the end of the season, as the time for dropping points has long passed. With that in mind, the manager must elect to go with the strongest team available to him, regardless of the risk involved with playing certain individuals.

In goal, Joe Hart will remain, hoping to pick up his first clean sheet since February's trip to St Mirren over a month ago. In the defence, he will be joined by Alistair Johnston and Greg Taylor on each flank, as both first-choice full-backs are available for selection. Here's hoping that continues to be the case between now and the end of the season for Rodgers' side. In the middle of the defence, risks have to be taken, as Cameron Carter-Vickers will make an immediate return to the centre-back position, with Stephen Welsh joining him. In the case of Carter-Vickers, the American international has to play, given the problems that Welsh and Liam Scales had in their last outing versus Livingston. Scales' injury gives Welsh the nod ahead of the likes of Gustaf Lagerbielke in the starting line-up.

In the midfield, Tomoki Iwata will continue to play as the deepest midfielder, after having a better game last time out against Livingston. He will be joined in the engine room by Paulo Bernardo, who will be offered another chance to display what he can do, whilst Matt O'Riley will be deployed as the furthest-forward midfielder. With captain Callum McGregor still out, it is up to Bernardo in particular to pick up the slack and ensure that the middle of the park is well-drilled, as St Johnstone will be up for this match. If not, then Daniel Kelly will be waiting in the wings to take any opportunity afforded to him.

In the forward areas, it will be Kyogo Furuhashi that leads the line for Celtic, in place of Adam Idah, who failed to score in the last game. Harsh, but you must reward the Japan striker with a clear run at proceedings, given how well he took his late chance last week in the Scottish Cup. Supporting Kyogo on either side will be Daizen Maeda on the left and Nicolas Kuhn on the right, as both had their best games of the season respectively last week against Livingston. For Kuhn, he looked dangerous 1v1 against the defenders, whilst Maeda scored three, which could - and should - have been more, given his chances.

It's good that the team mostly picks itself for this one. This could be the last game without the likes of McGregor, Reo Hatate and Yang Hyun-jun, so they will have a stronger team in place for the first game after the international break. If they can navigate this game, then they put themselves in a good position heading into the international break. Celtic to win comfortably.

Ryan's team: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Welsh, Taylor; Iwata, Bernardo, O'Riley; Kuhn, Kyogo, Maeda

Tony Haggerty

Celtic must win at all costs, as any slip-ups now could prove fatal in their quest to retain the Scottish Premiership title.

Brendan Rodgers's men drew a blank the last time St Johnstone came calling at Celtic Park back in August, as both sides had to settle for a goalless draw. The men in green and white know that a victory would see them move back to the top of the table for 24 hours at least with Rangers in action at Dens Park the following day. The defending champions need to grasp the nettle and use the opportunity to apply some real pressure on their city rivals.

With that in mind, Hart will be in goal and he will be ably assisted by a back four comprising Johnston and Taylor on the right and left flank respectively.  A most welcome sight will be at the heart of the defence as USA centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers returns to the first-team fold. Welsh will join the defender, as Scales has picked up a knock in training.

In the middle of the park, Captain McGregor continues to be a huge miss. However, Rodgers can only go with the fit guys. Therefore Iwata will play in the No. 6 role with Portuguese midfielder Bernardo being afforded another opportunity to see what he can bring to the table in the run-in. O'Riley will be deployed further up the field and hopefully, he can celebrate his call-up to the Denmark international squad with a timely return to form. Youngster Kelly will be champing at the bit to gain more valuable game minutes and will play some part from the bench.

Up front, Rodgers will make one change from last week's starting line-up. The impressive Kuhn who had his best game in a Celtic jersey since his arrival against Livingston will be given the chance to replicate that dazzling right-wing performance. His confidence levels should be high enough to take on that mantle. Hat-trick hero Maeda will occupy the left-hand side as he looks to continue his scoring form from last weekend. The focal point in attack will be Kyogo as Idah will make way for the goalscoring talisman who served up a timely reminder to his manager that he has not lost the ability to put the ball in the net when you provide him with decent service in the areas that hurt the opposition most.  It was number 14 for the season for  Kyogo. He will be desperate to make it 15 or more by Saturday evening.

Celtic to win handsomely and to put themselves in a good mood heading into the international break.

Tony's team: Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Welsh, Taylor; Iwata, Bernardo, O'Riley; Kuhn, Kyogo, Maeda.