Hibs v Celtic: Same XI as Hearts win? | Gauld to be involved? | Neil Lennon return II

Celtic are the visitors to Easter Road in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Sunday afternoon to face Paul Heckingbottom's Hibs.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 3:22 pm
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 3:29 pm
Paul Heckingbottom will face Neil Lennon this weekend. Picture: SNS
Paul Heckingbottom will face Neil Lennon this weekend. Picture: SNS

The Hibees come into the fixture off the back of their first Edinburgh derby success at Tynecastle in six years. A result which took the team's run of unbeaten matches in the league to eight, lifting them above their rivals in the process.

With a six point gap to third and fourth, Hibs will have to continue their unbeaten form to have any chance to jump above Aberdeen or Kilmarnock. Yet, with those sides meeting on Saturday afternoon, the door could be left ajar come Sunday for Heckingbottom's men to take advantage of.

Speaking of the Englishman, he has suffered just one defeat since arriving in Leith, a 2-0 reverse in the Scottish Cup against Sunday's opponents.

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It was Neil Lennon's return to Easter Road and it did not go to plan for his former side. Hibs struggled to lay a glove on the league leaders. Yet, following a poor start to the following home game against Rangers, Heckingbottom tweaked his side leading to an upturn in performance.

With no fresh injury worries, he will likely go with the same team which came from a goal behind to beat Hearts. Good news came with Martin Boyle continuing to work towards fitness.

Celtic, if Rangers drop points against Hearts at Tynecastle, will be able to secure their eighth consecutive title on Sunday.

Hibs team news

Other than long-term absentees, Heckingbottom has a full squad to choose from. It could mean the return of Ryan Gauld to the squad. There was positive news on the Martin Boyle front with the player continuing his rehabilitation from the knee injury picked up when away with Australia earlier in the season. Ryan Porteous remains out.

Possible Hibs team

Marciano; Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson; Omeonga, Milligan; Horgan, Mallan, Kamberi; McNulty. Subs from: Bogdan, Mackie, Spector, Bartley, Murray, Slivka, Allan, Gauld.

Celtic team news

Neil Lennon confirmed that defender Jack Hendry will be out for the rest of the season with a torn hamstring, while Ryan Christie is also likely to miss the remainder of the campaign after fracturing his eye socket, jaw and cheekbone.

Possible Celtic team

Bain; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer, Tierney; Brown, McGregor; Forrest, Rogic, Hayes; Edouard. Subs from: De Vries, Benkovic, Toljan, Ntcham, Sinclair, Weah, Burke.

Magic number - 18

This will be Neil Lennon's 18 match as manager against Hibernian. He has won 13 of the previous 17, with Hibs' victory coming on 29 December, 2012. Leigh Griffiths scoring the only goal of the game.

Key battle

Coming into the game off the back of a starring role against Hearts where he netted both goals, Daryl Horgan will go up against Kieran Tierney. It will be a real test of Horgan's ability to work back towards his own goal, tracking the left-back's runs. But also a chance to further enhance his reputation and prove he is one of the most talented wingers in the league against the best full-back. The Irishman has the pace, the versatility and trickery to be a real nuisance.

Referee

Nick Walsh is the man in the middle on Sunday. It will be the fourth time he oversees a Hibs game this campaign, in the previous three he awarded a total of four penalties.

Odds

Hibs 13/2 Draw 13/4 Celtic 4/9