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Ange Postecoglou‘s side made sure that Rangers did not close the gap at the top of the table last time out, when the Glasgow neighbours played out a 1-1 draw in the fifth Old Firm derby of the season.
Jota gave the Hoops a 21st-minute lead at Celtic Park, but the visitors put their hosts under a lot of pressure, registering 14 shots in total, eventually equalising through Fashion Sakala in the second half.
That draw meant that Celtic extended their unbeaten run in the Scottish Premiership to 29 games, as they put themselves well on their way to regain the title from their Old Firm rivals.
Postecoglou’s team are still unbeaten on home soil this year, winning 14 and drawing three times in 17 matches, during which time they have netted 45 goals and conceded just five, making them strong favourites for three points this weekend.
The Hoops are the top goalscorers in Scotland, having scored 81 goals in 35 matches, suggesting that Hearts’ defence will have to be at its best to prevent Celtic from getting on the scoresheet.
Robbie Neilson’s side know that they are finishing third this year, which will be viewed as a success after bouncing straight back from the Championship last season, but they cannot let their momentum stop just because they already know where their league fate lays.
Hearts have a Scottish Cup final to look forward to later this month against Rangers, and so they will want to use their remaining three league matches to prepare for that game, with Rangers distracted by the Premiership and Europa League business.
Saturday’s visitors are looking for revenge on Celtic, having lost to the Hoops on all three previous occasions this campaign, most recently losing 2-1 against Postecoglou’s side in January.
Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic is expected to be absent from the hosts’ squad this weekend, after picking up a knock last time out against Rangers.
The hosts will operate in a 4-3-3 formation, which will be lead by Jota, Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda, with Postecoglou likely to name an unchanged starting 11.
Georgios Giakoumakis and Liel Abada offer strong attacking options from the bench for Celtic, with James Forrest also certain to be named among the substitutes.
Hearts’ injury list continues to be lengthy, with Beni Baningime, Craig Halkett, John Souttar and Michael Smith all ruled out of this weekend’s action.
Midfielder Aaron McEneff was replaced by Ben Woodburn after just 15 minutes two weeks ago, and the former missed out last weekend, and is likely to do so again this time around.
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Woodburn comes into a midfield four along with Peter Haring and wing-backs Gary Mackay-Steven and Nathaniel Atkinson, who has been in great form and received multiple high ratings across the last few matches.
Celtic possible starting lineup:
Hart; Taylor, Starfelt, Carter-Vickers, Ralston; Hatate, McGregor, O’Riley; Maeda, Furuhashi, Jota
Hearts possible starting lineup:
Gordon; Cochrane, Sibbick, Moore; Mackay-Steven, Woodburn, Haring, Atkinson; McKay, Boyce, Ginnelly