Scottish Premiership Preview | Hibernian vs. Celtic
Saturday 19/10/2013 12:30 GMT
Celtic travel to Easter Road this Saturday looking to build momentum ahead of their crucial Champions League tie against Ajax on Tuesday. Pat Fenlon hopes his side will be able to replicate their victory against Celtic last december in the capital.
Hibernian are in positive form going into this weekends match with four wins in their last 6 matches in all competitions. Although Celtic will be favourites to take all three points, Hibs will take heart from last Decembers 1-0 victory against the scottish champions in Edinburgh. Pat Fenlon has told his player to get in the faces of the champions and stressed the importance of the home crowd.
“We want to make sure it is a contest, get in their faces and start the game really well. We want the crowd up for it early and you need that against Celtic.
I think if you stand off them they can cause you serious problems.”
Paul Cairney and Danny Handling come into contention for Hibernian after injury. Handling has not played since injuring a bone on his foot against Ross County in August, and midfielder Cairney has yet to play for the club this season. Pat Fenlon does have a number of absentees with Alan Maybury, Tim Clancy, Alex Harris, Jordon Forster, and Sam Stanton all still out.
Neil Lennon has a number of injury concerns himself, no more than at right back where both Lustig and Matthews are injury and unable to join the squad. Lennon has a big decision to make in terms of how he covers that right back area; youngster Darnell Fisher could be handed a starting spot after impressing in pre season. A shift in formation could be a solution for Lennon with either a back three instead of four or Efe Ambrose filling in at right back, a position he plays in for national side Nigeria.
Derek Boerrigter and Steve Moyoukolo are still injured and will miss the game this weekend, however midfielders Joe Ledley and Tom Rogic are back in contention, while James Forrest could also make his first start since August.
Lennon has emphasised the importance of this game with Hibs as his side look to take a winning momentum into the weekday fixture with Ajax.
“Talking about momentum, (the Hibs game) is pivotal. The players have responded to everything that we have asked them to do in the league but if they want to play on Tuesday night they are going to have to play at their best on Saturday.
“It is there for them and it is another great week for us.”
The Celtic boss was also keen to highlight the work of his compatriot at Hibernian, Fenlon, after he has managed to turn the clubs earlier negative form around.
“They have turned things around since the Malmo game where it was all doom and gloom and they have some really decent results, winning at Partick and at St Johnstone.
“We lost at Easter Road last year and Pat’s teams can be dogged when they want to be and difficult to beat, so we have to be wary of that.”
Possible Starting XI’s
Celtic have a huge week in front of the them with the visit of Ajax on Tuesday and three league points this saturday will be important in terms of mentality ahead of that european game. On paper Celtic have more to offer than Hibernian however Pat Fenlon’s men have turned things around as of late and will be confident of matching the Champions on their own patch. I expect a tight game with celtic just edging it in the end.
90MinuteCynic Prediction: Hibernian 1-2 Celtic