Rodgers Set To Ring The Changes At Rugby Park

Brendan Rodgers

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Whether by circumstance or by design we could be set to see a number of competitive debuts handed out by Brendan Rodgers in Sunday’s League Cup clash with Kilmarnock.

Having started with the same starting XI in our opening two fixtures, that choice is no longer available due to the injury sustained by Cameron Carter-Vickers at Pittodrie last weekend and the manager will now be forced to ring the changes in his defence.

However he may just take the opportunity to do so elsewhere too.

We’ve not had our struggles to seek across the back line and Stephen Welsh – having just signed a deal which will keep him at Celtic Park until 2027 – now becomes the latest casualty, having picked up an untimely knock in training.

He’ll join Carter-Vickers and Yuki Kobayashi for a spell on the sidelines, a situation which will further frustrate both the player and his manager.

New signing Gustaf Lagerbielke has only just touched down in Glasgow this week but already looks poised to make his first start in the Hoops and will most likely partner fellow new Bhoy Maik Nawrocki at centre half.

Carl Starfelt of course has now vacated a centre half slot to see what La Liga has to offer, leaving Liam Scales as the only other alternative at the back.

At this stage Tomoki Iwata doesn’t seem to be considered for a place there – or anywhere – in Brendan Rodgers’ side.


The fixtures against Ross County and Aberdeen threw up an unexpected battle in midfield between David Turnbull and Reo Hatate, with the Scotsman getting the starting jersey on both occasions.

Having failed to follow up his star performance on Flag Day with much of note against the Dons however, and with Hatate picking up an unfortunate knock, could we see another new signing teamed up with Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley in the midfield engine room?

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Odin Thiago Holm entered the fray at Pittodrie in the 70th minute and played a notable part in seeing out the win with a composure and calmness beyond his years.

At just 20 years of age he already has an impressive 93 senior appearances under his belt and looked more than comfortable as he helped his team-mates take all three points.

The smart money would be on him making it appearance number 94 by 3pm on Sunday


Having lost Jota to Saudi Arabia earlier in the summer Celtic were always going to be left with a big gap to fill on the wings and it’s not disrespectful to say we don’t seem to have done so just yet.

The Portuguese after all was one of the most naturally gifted talents we’ve seen at Celtic Park in some time.

Marco Tilio landed early in the window having earned a strong reputation in his native Australia but injury has prevented him from showing what he has to offer so far.

No such problems for fellow winger Yang however who has arrived from South Korea and shown his worth each time he’s been given the opportunity.

His biggest contribution to date has been his assist to Matt O’Riley which sealed the game against Aberdeen and he may now be set for his first start.

Whether that be ahead of Abada or Maeda would be hard to tell, such is his comfort on both wings, but a place in Sunday’s front three looks there for the taking.


Elsewhere could we see Joe Hart “rested” for Benji Seigrist or Scott Bain, or Alexandro Bernabei – complete with new alarm clock – step in for the out of sorts Greg Taylor.

Whatever line-up he opts for the manager is firmly focused on the task of reaching the quarter final stage.

“We’re in the competition to try and win it and if you’re going to do that you’re going to have to beat good teams and come across difficult opponents.

It’s a game we want to win, we want to get in to the next round, and we’ll do everything we possibly can.

We’ll have great support there to help us and our idea is to get into the next round.”

For Lagerbielke, Thiago Holm and Yang it could be the perfect opportunity to kick start their careers in the Hoops.

Listen to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Weekly as we discuss Room For Improvement, The Case For The Defence & Transfer Window Worries!

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