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Rodgers' Capital Quest II: Easter Road

Discussion in 'TalkCeltic News' started by Taz, Oct 27, 2023.

By Taz on Oct 27, 2023 at 3:30 PM
  1. Taz Blind Justice Gold Member News Writer

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    Rodgers' Capital Quest II: Easter Road
    ~~~~~~~~~~ Official TC Match Preview ~~~~~~~~~~

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    The Hoops celebrate during an impressive first half display against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday

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    Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh
    Saturday, 28 October 2023
    15.00 GMT

    When the Bhoys return to action tomorrow, they will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the Premiershp campaign with a 7th straight league win, when they travel through to Edinburgh to take on Hibernian at Easter Road.

    Celtic need to quickly turn their attention back to what could be a tricky trip to the Capital - the second such journey in less than a week - as they look to extend the lead at the top of the table to 10 points, for at least 24hours.

    In truth, the Bhoys have done well this season on the road in the League. Indeed, it is a remarkably tough run of away fixtures that they've had to contend with already.

    Pittodrie is never easy, derby day at Ipox is always a battle, statistically speaking until earlier this year Almondvale had been the toughest away day on the fixture list since 2018. In addition to that it took late, late drama to escape Fir Park with the points and Tynecastle has historically always provided a hostile atmosphere.

    Easter Road could likewise prove an awkward propositon - and with good reason.​

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    Manager Brendan Rodgers is still searching for his first win over Hibs at Easter Road

    Indeed, Brendan Rodgers' personal record against Hibs at Easter Road during his first spell is one he urgently needs to correct, having yet to depart Leith victorious in 3 previous attempts - including defeats in each of his last 2 visits there.

    However, it is not just the spectre of 2017 and 2018 to be laid to rest though.

    The Celtic faithful need only reflect back to the most recent visit there, back in May, as a reminder of how much of a thorn in the side the Hibees can be.

    That match was a day to forget for the many of the Bhoys. Through a combination of players rested for the Scottish Cup Final, injuries both then and now, subsequent departures from the club and fringe players used that day who are unlikely to feature tomorrow means that it is likely that Callum McGregor will be the only one from that starting XI for tomorrow's game.

    That said, there can be no complaints about the result. Celtic had their opportunies and were twice in front, at 1-0 and 2-1 up. However, between Scott Bain making a number of fundamental errors, fringe players such as Yuki Kobayashi and Saed Haksabanovic failing to seize their opportunities and Daizen Maeda being sent off, it opened the door for the hosts to fight back and ended comfortable 4-2 winners.

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    Sole Survivor: McGregor is likely to be the only starting player from the last meeting with Hibs

    As for Hibs, they have a few problems of their own as they continue to adapt to life under new manager, Nick Montgomery.

    Although the Leith side have only lost the once since his arrival, they are a side in transition as the new man looks to get them firing and looking for their first win since they came from 2 goals down to defeat St Mirren, 4-2, and set up a League Cup Semi-Final appearance against Aberdeen, next weekend.

    Since then, however, they have recorded a 0-0 draw with Dundee, followed by another having comeback from 2-0 down to * a share of the spoils in the Edinburgh derby, prior to a heavy 4-0 defeat away at Ipox, last weekend.

    There are goals in this Hibernian side, but all too often they've taken a while to get going and are very much a 2nd Half side - with over 75% of their league goals this season coming in the last 30 minutes of games.

    This has been a consistent trend in all of their 17 games so far this season across all competitions, including European Conference League Qualifying and League Cup, with over 83% in total coming in the 2nd Half of games.

    In fact, if setting aside the 6-1 win over Inter Club D'Escaldes at the beginning of August, Hibs have scored just 3 first half goals across all of the 15 games in total since.

    The point being, don't write them off early. There is a job to be done and Celtic will need to do it right for the full 90 minutes.

    By the Numbers

    • The Bhoys continue to be undefeated in the League this season, including a perfect winning 'Away' record.
    • Brendan Rodgers never won at Easter Road during his first tenure as Celtic manager, having recorded a draw there in 2017, followed by two defeats in 2018.
    • Celtic will be looking for a first clean sheet in 6 games across all competitions.
    • Hibs are a second half goal team, with 11 second half goal out of 13 league goals in total - 10 of which in the last 30 minutes of games.
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    O'Riley turned in another fine performance against the Spanish side in midweek

    Team News

    Celtic will almost certainly be without Reo Hatate for a while, as the midfielder picked up what appeared to be a hamstring injury that forced him from the field after barely 7 minutes of the Atletico game in midweek. It is a blow for the Japanese International, who already missed close to a month of football with a calf strain and could now be facing a further extended spell on the sidelines.

    Hatate joins Stephen Welsh (ankle) and Liel Abada (thigh) in the treatment room - both of whom are not expected to make a return until close to the new year at the earliest.

    Elsewhere, Liam Scales and Cameron Carter-Vickers will be aiming to further develop their partnership at the heart of defence as Celtic look to record a first clean sheet since the USA International returned from his recent hamstring injury, while South Korean striker Oh Hyeon-gyo is hopeful of getting on the scoresheet, having done so in each of his two previous appearances against Hibs.

    As for the hosts, Paul Hanlon and Jojo Wallacott have both returned to fitness after spells on the sidelines and should be available for selection if required.

    Referee: Alan Muir

    This will be just the 3rd Premiership match this season for the 48 year old, who has previously officiated 210 gamea at this level since 2008. The last time Muir had the whistle for a game involving Celtic, it was the 1-0 League Cup defeat at the hands of Kilmarnock, earlier this season.

    Celtic Overall Record with Muir
    M: 40 W: 35 D: 4 L: 1

    VAR: Don Robertson

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

    Overall
    P: 318 W: 182 D: 81 L: 55

    Last 5 Meetings
    L W W W D

    [​IMG] ~~~~ 2022/23 Form ~~~~ [​IMG]

    All Comps
    D W W L W ~ L D D W W

    SPFL
    W W W W W ~ L D D W D