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Celts Seek to Capitalize at Hibs

Discussion in 'TalkCeltic News' started by Taz, Feb 26, 2022.

By Taz on Feb 26, 2022 at 11:15 PM
  1. Taz Blind Justice News Writer Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2009
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    Celts Seek to Capitalize at Hibs
    ~~~~~~~~~~ Official TC Match Preview ~~~~~~~~~~

    Giorgos Giakoumakis impressive form translated into a hatrick last weekend

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Easter Road, Edinburgh
    Sunday, 27 February 2022
    12.00 GMT

    As the line is now drawn under Celtic's European campaign for another season, the Bhoys cannot allow that - or anything else - to distract them from seizing the silver lining. Specifically, the opportunity to put all of their efforts and attention in regaining the League title this season.

    And with the prize so crucially important this season, it is imperative that the Hoops not allow the Conference League exit to derail all of the hard work and determination that has driven the Hoops to open a 3 point gap at the top of the League table.

    This has been done by virtue of producing consistent results, with the Bhoys undefeated domestically since the end of August, including winning 18 of the past 20 league games (drawing the 2 others), and will be looking for a 9th straight league victory since Christmas.

    While a lot of the emphasis has been placed on the attacking brand of football that Ange Postecoglou has implemented, it's important to note that a considerable part of that consistency and success is due to maintaining the best defensive record in the league.

    That said, there are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed, as oppositions have been able to notably exploit a frailty in dead ball situations. In the last two league outings, Celtic have conceded 4 goals - 2 each to both Dundee and Aberdeen - to set pieces.

    Naturally is a cause of concern for anyone of a Celtic persuasion - and reason for optimism for the rest.So this is an area that will need to be addressed.

    Celtic need to clinch all three points on Sunday, to maintain the slim advantage that has been built upon since the winter break. As the title run in begins to become sharply into focus, every fixture and every result and the accompanying pressures weighted, seemingly counting for so much.

    The Hoops will be up against a Hibs side who have been having struggles of their own in the past month. Since the resumption after the winter break, Shaun Maloney's side have won just 3 of their 9 matches, with 2 of those coming against lower league opposition in the Scottish Cup, and come into this match with back to back wins to their credit for the first time in 2022.

    Hibs, currently sitting 4th on the table, have been part of a mid-table scrap and are one of six sides within 3 points of one another chasing down a European place next season.

    The win last weekend managed to just narrowly get their noses in front of the pack - ahead of Dundee United and Motherwell on goal difference alone, with St Mirren, Aberdeen and Livingston all hot on their heels.

    But no matter what Hibernian are contending with, Postecoglou will be priming his team to ensure that there are no European hangovers, while the scares of the past couple of league encounters will hopefully have dispelled any sense of complaceny, as the Bhoys will need to be fully committed if they are to prevail, and with just 11 games to play, there really is no room to let any opportunity slide.

    Maeda scored on debut v Hibs - the first of 4 in 9 appearances since joining last month

    Green Days and White Heat

    • Celtic have won all 9 of their games in the League since Christmas, scoring 21 times and conceding just 6 - although 4 of those have come in the last 2 outings.
    • In the two previous League meetings between the sides (A 3-1, H 2-0) all of the goal action has come early, with all 5 of Celtic's goals coming in the first 30 minutes of play - and the sole goal that has been conceded also came in the first half.
    • If Celtic secure another victory on Sunday it will be the first time that the Hoops will have won the first 3 league meetings of a season against Hibs since 2011.
    • Hibs have often proven to be a tough test for Celtic, with 5 of the past 14 meetings ending in stalemate.
    • The last time that the Edinburgh outfit came out on top was in December 2018.
    • Having said that, Celtic have won the previous 3 encounters this season, with 2 victories in the league, as well as success in the League Cup Final at Hampden in December.
    Reo Hatate impressed the boss on his debut against Hibs last month

    Team News

    There will likely be some considerable alterations to the starting XI this weekend, from the side that took to the pitch on Thursday evening, with a likely return for the likes of Josip Juranovic, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Reo Hatate, Liel Abada and Jota to call upon.

    However, the Bhoys will continue to be without Kyogo Furuhashi for another 2-3 weeks still. Speaking ahead of the weekend's match, Postecoglou revealed that the Japanese striker is nearing a return, but judging from his comments it is still a good few weeks off, with the March International Break a possible marker.

    However the news appears to be a little brighter for David Turnbull, who may not be quite ready for this weekend, but appears to be nearing a return to action, sooner rather than later, while Albian Ajeti has also resumed full training with the squad - although whether the Swiss International can force his way into Postecoglou's plans remains a question, even if it would push Giorgos Giakoumakis and Diazen Maeda with additional competition.

    As for manager Shaun Maloney's side, they will be without 9 of his first team squad for Sunday's clash, whch will test to the host's squad to their limits. Elias Melkersen and James Scott have been ruled out through illness, which has compounded the injury woes that have sidelined club captain Paul Hanlon, Scotland International Paul McGinn, January signing Harry Clarke, midfielder Joe Newell, winger Demi Mitchell and Kyle Magennis, who has been out since September, initially with a groin issue, and then suffered a new setback in a bounce game to prove his fitness last month, which has kept him out since.

    On top of all of this, Ewan Henderson is also ineligible, as he is on loan from Celtic and so is not allowed to play against his parent club. However, the former Hoops' favourite who is now the Hibs boss has insisted that defender Ryan Porteous will be available for selection for Sunday's match. despite some recent suggestions of off field trouble.​


    [​IMG]~~~~ Head to Head ~~~~ [​IMG]

    P: 315 W: 181 D: 80 L: 54

    Last 5 Meetings
    W W W D D

    Away v HIB
    W D D W D

    [​IMG] ~~~~ 2021/22 Form ~~~~ [​IMG]

    L W L W W ~ W W L L D

    CEL Away ~ HIB Home
    L W W W W ~ W L D L D

    W W W W W ~ W L L D L
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2022