SCOTTISH FOOTBALL: Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers will be wary of Hibs threat

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

For Brendan Rodgers and Celtic the latest Champions League setback in Munich in midweek must now be consigned to the history books and focus turn to the challenge of Neil Lennon’s Hibernian in the semi-finals of the League Cup.

Many onlookers adjudged Celtic to be somewhat fortuitous in the Parkhead encounter a few weeks ago when the sides drew – yet this Saturday afternoon’s encounter will provide another test for Celtic.

Brendan Rodgers has expressed his dissatisfaction with the scheduling of this fixture – coming as it does just three days after the journey to Bavaria – but the Parkhead boss has overlooked the fact that there is the small matter of an Edinburgh Derby at Easter Road on Tuesday evening.

Hibernian will unquestionably have taken great encouragement from that share of the spoils in the East End of Glasgow when John McGinn netted twice.

The midfielder will certainly pose a major threat to Celtic dreams of retaining the trophy – but Rodgers will be aware that the opposition carry more of a threat than just the one man.

The Leith side made an impressive opening to their Premiership campaign with two wins, the second in controversial circumstances at Ibrox. Since then however – despite progress to the last four of the League Cup, - Lennon’s men have faltered.

Currently lying sixth in the table with 13 points from nine games, they have failed to secure all three points for the past four weeks

Jozo Simunovic is unlikely to return – but there may be a place in the starting line-up for Moussa Dembele, a substitute midway through the second-half against Bayern for Leigh Griffiths who ran himself into the ground to no avail.

If the Celtic manager is indeed seriously concerned about burnout and the demands of an undoubtedly heavy programme then the likelihood is that Tom Rogic, James Forrest, Nir Bitton and Callum McGregor (who like John McGinn netted twice in the League encounter between the sides) will feature from the off.