Hearts v Celtic: Match preview and probable line-ups

Kieran Tierney contests the ball with Connor Randall during the last meeting between the two teams. Picture: SNS Group
Kieran Tierney contests the ball with Connor Randall during the last meeting between the two teams. Picture: SNS Group
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Hearts host Celtic in Sunday’s televised game, hoping to record back-to-back home wins over the champions.

Craig Levein could be without up to six players but Harry Cochrane, who has been rested in recent matches, could come back into the starting line-up along with Joaquim Adao.

Demetri Mitchell is also expected to start at left back after recovering from injury.

Levein will have to do without the services of Jamie Brandon, Marcus Godinho, Andy Irving, Arnaud Djoum and Prince Buaben while David Milinkovic, who scored a brace against Celtic in the 4-0 victory in December, is rated 50/50.

The Hearts boss is likely to revert to a 4-2-3-1, matching Celtic’s likely formation, with Kyle Lafferty spearheading the attack. Don Cowie, Steven Naismith and Lewis Moore could form the attacking midfield trio while Cochrane and Adao will sit in front of a back four of Connor Randall, John Souttar, Christophe Berra and Mitchell, with Jon McLaughlin in goals.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers will likely continue with the in-form Odsonne Edouard as his lone striker. The on-loan PSG forward scored twice against Rangers as Celtic romped to their seventh successive title last week.

Rodgers could well go with a largely unchanged line-up of Craig Gordon in goal; a back four of Mikael Lustig, Kristoffer Ajer, Dedryck Boyata and Kieran Tierney; Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown in the holding roles and an attacking midfield three of Scott Sinclair, Tom Rogic and James Forrest behind Edouard.

Moussa Dembele had been struggling with a knee injury but will be fit to face the while Marvin Compper, Nir Bitton and Jonny Hayes are all out.

Last five meetings: Celtic 3-1 Hearts; Hearts 4-0 Celtic; Celtic 4-1 Hearts; Celtic 2-0 Hearts; Hearts 0-5 Celtic.

Likely Hearts team: (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; Randall, Souttar, Berra, Mitchell; Adao, Cochrane; Cowie, Naismith, Moore; Lafferty. Subs from: J Hamilton, C Hamilton, Hughes, M Smith, McDonald, Callachan, Amankwaa, Henderson, Currie.

Likely Celtic team (4-2-3-1): Gordon; Lustig, Ajer, Boyata, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair; Edouard. Subs from: Bain, Simunovic, Musonda, Roberts, Johnston, Armstrong, McGregor, Dembele, Griffiths.

Referee: Bobby Madden

Kick-off: 12.15pm

Odds: Hearts 9/1 Draw 41/10 Celtic 2/5 (Odds correct at the time of writing)

For more statistics, visit our dedicated Hearts page