Although the league remains the chief objective for the Parkhead club, defending the Scottish Cup, which they have won in each of the last two years, is also an important goal and they will expect an emphatic start to that quest in North Lanarkshire.
|Game||Celtic v Airdrie|
|Date||Saturday, January 19|
|Time||5:15 pm GMT / 12:15 pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed on ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the UK, the game is being shown on Premier Sports 1 and streamed on Premier Player.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports 1||Premier Player|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Gordon, Bain, De Vries|
|Defenders||Izaguirre, Benkovic, J. Hendry, Simunovic, Gamboa, Boyata, Lustig, Compper, Ajer, Ralston, Miller|
|Midfielders||Brown, Sinclair, Morgan, Allan, Ntcham, McGregor, Forrest, Mulumbu, Burke, Hayes, Christie|
|Forwards||Edouard, Johnston, Weah|
Tim Weah, Vakoun Bayo and Oliver Burke have all been added to the Celtic squad over the course of January to date, and it seems probable that they will be gently introduced into the action.
Bayo has not received international clearance and will not be available.
Brendan Rodgers still has a significant list of complaints before the weekend’s match, with Kieran Tierney, Ebou Kouassi and Daniel Arzani out.
Tom Rogic is away on international duty and Leigh Griffiths remains on a leave of absence.
Nir Bitton is back training, however, Olivier Ntcham is fit and Filip Benkovic has shrugged off a knee problem.
The artificial surface may mean that Scott Brown is not used from the start.
Possible Celtic starting XI: Gordon; Lustig, Benkovic, Boyata, Izaguirre; Ntcham, Christie; Forrest, McGregor, Sinclair; Edouard
|Defenders||Crighton, Robertson, Page, MacDonald, O'Neil, McIntosh, Edwards|
|Midfielders||Campbell, Gallagher, Conroy, Millar, Stewart, Wilkie|
|Forwards||Duffy, Carrick, McIntosh, Vitoria|
Airdrie are unlikely to switch too significantly away from the side that has seen them enjoy a good burst of form in League One, culminating in a 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers last weekend.
Wing-back Scott Stewart, whose father Sandy featured for Airdrie in Scottish Cup final defeats to Rangers and Celtic in the 1990s, left that game prematurely and is a doubt, while goalkeeper Scott Gallacher is a long-term absentee and defender Dean Cairns is set to miss out too.
Possible Airdrie starting XI: Hutton; O’Neil, Crighton, MacDonald; Stewart, Gallagher, Millar, Campbell, Edwards; McIntosh, Wilkie
Betting & Match Odds
Celtic are red-hot favourites to come out on top at home, with bet365 offering odds of 1/10 on a Bhoys victory. Airdrie are considered a 16/1 bet to win, while a draw is 9/1.
Celtic finished 2018 on a low note as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Rangers at Ibrox, but Brendan Rodgers is hopeful that can act as a spur to bring even more out of his team.
Indeed, the board have been pushed into action and three signings have already been made by the Hoops – Tim Weah, Oliver Burke and Vakoun Bayo.
Rodgers is pleased with the work that has been done to bolster the attacking line and remains hopeful that more business will be completed imminently.
“They’re settling in very well,” he said of the new recruits. “Oliver and Timothy joined us in Dubai and it’s been great for them to be spending time on and off the pitch with the players. That’s proved invaluable for us.
“Over the course of the next six months I’m sure we’ll see them improve and develop as players.
“It’s great to have them all on board. All three are young talents with very big potential and it’ll be great to nurture that.”
Meanwhile, he is not about to take Airdrie lightly.
“These types of games can always be difficult but we’ve done our work and analysed Airdrie, so we’ll look forward to the game on Saturday evening and look to get into the next round,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to the game. We have a little run of games here at home. In my last two years here, we’ve played really well at home and have some great performances, so we want to start off the defence of the trophy again.”
The Diamonds, meanwhile, lie fifth in League One but have seen some improvement in recent weeks under Ian Murray, who has guided them on a four-match undefeated run recently. The challenge that lies ahead, however, is an immense one.