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With an unbeaten record in the Scottish Premiership since September, Ange Postecoglou would have naturally been expecting his Celtic side to defeat Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-finals earlier this month.
However, the 2-1 comeback win for the Gers has taken the shine off Celtic’s campaign, the Hoops instead left to wrap up proceedings in the top flight as soon as possible.
Given Rangers’ success last season, everyone associated with Celtic will be thoroughly delighted should they reclaim that prize, but it cannot be regarded as a foregone conclusion just yet.
Defeat on Sunday would see Celtic’s lead cut to three points with three games remaining, although that will not be the mentality of a team who blew their arch rivals away when they last met at Celtic Park on February 2.
Celtic were far from their best in disposing of Ross County last weekend, Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota getting on the scoresheet at opposite ends of the contest.
Nevertheless, Giovanni van Bronckhorst will take the positives from the commitment and character shown against the Bundesliga side, something which will need to be repeated at the weekend.
The Dutchman is now left with the dilemma of giving everything in Sunday’s fixture and having the second leg versus Leipzig in mind, but that will not be used as an excuse if they fall short in either contest.
Fashion Sakala will likely be trusted with the main responsibility in the final third, even though he has not found the back of the net since March 13.
Despite the win at Ross County, Postecoglou will consider making changes to his Celtic XI for this contest.
Having all made substitute appearances last weekend, Tom Rogic, David Turnbull and Giorgos Giakoumakis are in contention for recalls.
Matt O’Riley appears most likely to drop out of midfield, but Josip Juranovic is sidelined and Postecoglou will be wary of taking any risks on Nir Bitton.
Aaron Ramsey and Kemar Roofe are again expected to miss out for Rangers with hamstring and knee issues respectively, keeping Alfredo Morelos company on the sidelines.
Van Bronckhorst will likely revert back to a defensive four, although Leon Balogun will miss out due to the red card that he picked up against Ross County.
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Sakala should return down the middle of the attack with Scott Wright in line to drop down to the substitutes’ bench.
Celtic possible starting lineup:
Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Taylor; Rogic, McGregor, Hatate; Jota, Furuhashi, Maeda
Rangers possible starting lineup:
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic; Jack, Lundstram, Kamara; Kent, Sakala, Aribo