Making Changes Against St Mirren – What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

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Celtic v St Mirren

Making multiple changes before a game against St Mirren.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Last time out against the Saints Ange made half a dozen changes to a side who had beaten Rangers 4-0 in their previous outing.

In came Ralston, Welsh, Jenz, Mooy, Turnbull and Maeda for what we all expected to be a routine win.

Instead we saw an end to our 100% start to the league campaign, along with the loss of a proud unbeaten league record which had lasted 364 days.

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Lessons Learned For Ange?

So can we expect fewer changes for tonight’s match-up with Stephen Robinson’s men?

Absolutely not.

Speaking ahead of the game Ange said,

“The game (on Saturday) took a fair bit out of the boys. I haven’t made final decisions yet but there will be some changes.

Both because it took a fair bit out of the lads at the weekend, and also because we need to freshen up the team I feel. So we’ll make a few changes.”

Noting that the likes of Tony Ralston, Sead Haksabanovic, James McCarthy and Stephen Welsh are all back training and available for this one, the manager has a wealth of options to choose from.

Celtic Park Debuts For New Bhoys?

Celtic's Latest Japanese Signing Tomoki Iwata
Celtic’s Latest Japanese Signing Tomoki Iwata

Perhaps most intriguing though will be whether he decides to give a Celtic Park debut to new Bhoys Yuki Kobayashi and Tomoki Iwata,

Kobayashi was confirmed as our first “January” signing almost two months ago now on the 23rd of November and will be itching for his first action in the Hoops.

Like fellow centre half Moritz Jenz he’s had to wait patiently in the wings as Ange has turned to his trusted due of Cameron carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt in the centre of defence.

Will tonight be the first chance for the left sided centre half to show the home crowd what he can do?

The challenge for Iwata is somewhat less clear.

Is he here as backup for Callum McGregor?

Will he play alongside him in a more defensive double pivot?

(I’d be amazed if this was something we seen at home to St Mirren, though perhaps it’s in the plans for Europe).

Or is he here to directly challenge the skipper for that No.6 role?

The J League’s Player of the Year hasn’t come to Scotland to sit on the bench, and from his press conferences seems a very confident young man.

The weeks ahead should give us a clear indication of how Ange plans to utilise the 25 year old.

Options In Attack

With 15 goals in 19 league appearances Kyogp Furuhashi looks set to lead the line once again as the uncertainty around Giorgos Giakoumakis rumbles on.

The Greek hitman is either 100% joining Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan, a certainty to head to Sampdoria in Serie A, or is definitely maybe headed for the MLS.

Or he may even stay in Glasgow.

Either way he seems unlikely to start tonight, so the question will be who joins Kyogo in that front three?

Having missed a run of games through injury the fans would love to welcome back Haksabanovic for the first time this year as the Montenegrin looks to kick start his Celtic career.

The talented winger has shown in spells what he’s capable of and tonight would present a perfect platform, whether from the start or off the bench.

Managing A Modern Squad

Choosing who to start from a wealth of international footballers is no easy task.

Nor is maintaining harmony across such a competitive squad when only eleven can start on any given matchday.

But Ange wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is how it is at big clubs in the modern game, and whatever line-up Ange unleashes against St Mirren tonight they’ll be highly motivated to exact their revenge over the side who had the audacity to burst the bubble back in September!

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