Hibs v Celtic: Marciano to start? | Three at the back? | Celtic injuries?

Hibs host Celtic in Sunday's televised Ladbrokes Premiership match at Easter Road having finally brought an end to their winless streak away to Hamilton last weekend.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 15th December 2018, 6:30 am
Updated Sunday, 16th December 2018, 12:20 pm

Celtic lost 2-1 to Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday night but a late goal from Rosenborg against RB Leipzig was enough to send the Hoops through to the Europa League knockout stages.

Both teams have a catalogue of injury concerns, with Ryan Christie the latest casualty for Celtic after picking up a knock against the Austrians. He joins five other Celts on the sidelines, while Mikael Lustig will also be assessed after picking up a head knock against Salzburg.

The Capital club go into this game without winger Thomas Agyepong, midfielder and stand-in captain Marvin Bartley, right-back David Gray and centre-half Paul Hanlon while goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, defender Charis Mavrias and midfielder Mark Milligan are rated doubtful.

Florian Kamberi and Filip Benkovic compete for the ball in the first meeting of the season between the two sides. Picture: SNS Group

Neil Lennon could be forced into completing his subs bench with youngsters, with defender Sean Mackie, midfielder Ben Stirling and attacking duo Jamie Gullan and Lewis Allan all possibilities for a seat on the bench.

Doubts over the fitness of Mavrias could see Lennon revert to a 3-5-2 formation, with Martin Boyle and Lewis Stevenson deployed as wingbacks. Florian Kamberi and Oli Shaw will likely retain their starting slots in attack.

Despite Christie’s injury, Brendan Rodgers has plenty of options available. Lustig’s fitness will likely dictate whether he goes for a 4-2-3-1 formation or a 3-5-2 set-up.

Kristoffer Ajer would likely come into the back three alongside Filip Benkovic and Jozo Simunovic if Lustig fails to prove his fitness. Cristian Gamboa is an option if Rodgers wants to play four at the back.

Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham could also come into contention for a start after the duo came on as subs on Thursday, with Ntcham scoring an injury-time penalty.

Injuries / suspensions / unavailable

Hibs - Goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw is recovering from a thigh tear, while Agyepong (thigh), Bartley (hamstring), Gray (muscle), Hanlon (leg) and Mavrias (hamstring) are all likely to miss out.

Celtic - Defender Dedryck Boyata (hamstring) is out, while midfielders Nir Bitton (recovery), Daniel Arzani (knee), Eboue Kouassi (knee), Christie (ankle) and striker Leigh Griffiths (health) are all sidelined. Lustig will be assessed before the match.

Possible teams

Hibs (3-5-2): Marciano, Ambrose, D McGregor, Porteous; Boyle, Mallan, Slivka, Hyndman, Horgan; Kamberi, Shaw. Subs from: Bogdan, Nelom, Mavrias, Mackie, Whittaker, Milligan, Horgan, Maclaren, Gullan, Allan.

Celtic (4-2-3-1): Gordon; Lustig, Benkovic, Simunovic, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair; Edouard. Subs from: Bain, Ajer, Izaguirre, Gamboa, Hendry, Morgan, Mulumbu, Johnston, Hayes.

Magic number - 5

The number of league games Celtic have won at Easter Road since the start of 2010.

Key battle

James Forrest is always likely to cause damage to unwary opposing defences. Ryan Porteous will have to be alert at all times to shackle the Scotland international winger.

Key stats

Celtic haven’t won at Easter Road since January 26 2014, when a Kris Commons brace and goals from Virgil van Dijk and Teemu Pukki handed the Hoops a 4-0 win. The last two meetings have ended in a 2-2 draw and a 2-1 win for Hibs.

This season the Hoops have won just three of their eight away games - a 6-0 win over St Johnstone;

a 5-0 win over Dundee and a 3-0 win over Hamilton.


Don Robertson is the man in the middle for this match. The 31-year-old whistler has taken charge of 15 Hibs games and 11 Celtic games. In those 26 matches he has dished out 35 yellow cards and two reds, while awarding two penalties. He will be assisted by Graeme Stewart and Andrew McWilliams, with John McKendrick on fourth official duties.