St Mirren v Celtic Sunday Kick off 12.45pm
This is a tie that I’ve been looking forward to, two sides that play open attacking football, the way it should be played. Celtic will be slightly more apprehensive than St Mirren going into this one, having suffered two defeats on the trot, firstly at home to St Johnstone last weekend then missing out on the Europa League group stages after going down 3-1 away to Sion of Switzerland.
Celtic came in for some harsh criticism after the St Johnstone match, with Lennon himself reading the riot act after the match however the Celtic boss made no apologies for his reaction, ‘I didn’t think it was harsh. It was the way I saw it. I am pretty good with the players when they perform well and if they don’t perform the way we expect them to I have every right in pointing that out. I can’t pull the wool over people’s eyes and I am not prepared to do that.
After the disappointment of Europe, Lennon will be looking for a positive result to end a miserable week and will be hoping that Beram Kayal, Kelvin Wilson, Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew all recently back from injury are fit for the clash with the Buddies. The quintet featured in the loss to Sion but Sunday’s game might be too soon for them and Lennon could shuffle his pack again.
Celtic have been under pressure to sign a top quality striker following the injury to Gary Hooper and the 180 minutes of goalless football at Celtic park. But with only one week left before the transfer window closes, Celtic have instead opted to loan out Irish striker Daryl Murphy to Ipswich Town. The striker had yet to feature for the hoops this season, having made 21 appearances last term, scoring 3 goals.
St Mirren played out a seven goal thriller on Tuesday evening against rivals Morton, winning 4-3 in the Scottish League Cup. Two wins on the trot for Danny Lennon’s men means that confidence is high going into the Celtic match.
Nigel Hasselbaink was withdrawn after 68 minutes with a suspected hamstring injury however the striker have been declared fit for the clash. Fellow striker Paul McQuade missed out on Tuesday’s derby after pulling a hamstring in the victory over Hibernian last Saturday but is expected back in the squad to face Celtic.
On-loan Burnley midfielder Joe McKee is added to the squad. The teenager has now received international clearance following his midweek arrival.
Prediction: Away win, Celtic to get back on track with a narrow win.
St Mirren (from): Samson, Mair, van Zanten, McAusland, Tesselaar, Teale, McShane, Goodwin, Thomson, McLean, Thompson, McGowan, Haddad, Hasselbaink, McKee, Carey, Barron, Smith.
Celtic (from): Forster, Majstorovic, Kelvin Wilson, Cha, Mulgrew, Ledley, Commons, Brown, Kayal, Forrest, Ki, Samaras, Hooper, Maloney, Wanyama, Zaluska, Matthews, Stokes, Mark Wilson, McCourt.