Celtic made it seven domestic Scottish trophies in succession on Sunday when they beat Aberdeen 1-0 to claim the League Cup, but their attentions turn back to the league for a midweek clash against Motherwell at Fir Park.
Brendan Rodgers’ side fell off the top of the table at the weekend, with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers taking over, albeit having played a game more than the Parkhead club. Nevertheless, that is a situation they will want to remedy as swiftly as possible.
On Wednesday, they face an out-of-form Motherwell side that slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Livingston on Saturday and were recently thumped 7-1 by Rangers.
The gauntlet has been thrown down.
|Game||Motherwell vs Celtic|
|Date||Wednesday, December 5|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 2:45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed live online via B/R Live.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on BT Sport 2 and it can be streamed live online using the BT Sport app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 2||BT Sport app|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Carson, Gillespie, Ferguson|
|Defenders||Hartley, Aldred, Mbulu, Dunne, Taylor-Sinclair, Tait, Donnelly|
|Midfielders||Campbell, McHugh, Grimshaw, Rose, Bigirimana, Gorrin, Turnbull, Cadden, Frear|
|Forwards||Tanner, Bowman, Samman, Main, Newell, Johnson|
Motherwell are bereft of a number of regular starters once more, including goalkeeper Trevor Carson. From their defence, meanwhile, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Charles Dunne are sidelined, and midfielder Craig Tanner is out.
Undoubtedly their greatest issue, however, is the ongoing absence of striker Chris Cadden.
Possible Motherwell starting XI: Gillespie; Mbulu, Aldred, Hartley, Tait, Bigirimana; Campbell, McHugh, Turnbull; Main, Johnson
|Goalkeepers||Gordon, Bain, Hazard|
|Defenders||Izaguirre, Hendry, Simunovic, Gamboa, Boyata, Lustig, Benkovic, Ralston, Tierney|
|Midfielders||Brown, Sinclair, Hayes, Morgan, Rogic, Ntcham, Mulumbu, Ajer, McGregor, Forrest, Johnston, Kouassi|
|Forwards||Griffiths, Christie, Edouard|
Celtic have a significant list of injury problems to contend with, although many of these are familiar issues for Brendan Rodgers, who has been without a raft of players for much of this season.
Among those laid up for the short trip to Fir Park are Kristoffer Ajer, Nir Bitton and Daniel Arzani.
Dedryck Boyata sustained a hamstring problem at the weekend and will miss a number of matches.
Rotation is likely, with Craig Gordon, Leigh Griffiths and Scott Brown set for recalls.
Possible Celtic starting XI: Gordon; Lustig, Benkovic, Simunovic, Tierney; Brown, Christie; Forrest, McGregor, Sinclair; Griffiths
Betting & Match Odds
Celtic are favourites to win according to bet365, who give odds of 2/9 on a victory for the league leaders. Motherwell are rated 9/1 to win and a draw is available at 5/1.
Ryan Christie’s thumping strike late in the first half against his former side was enough to condemn Aberdeen to a 1-0 defeat on Sunday and secure the League Cup for Celtic, who earned their seventh domestic trophy in succession.
“I think it’s testament to the players in the two-and-a-half years I’ve been here, their appetite and their desire to learn and improve,” manager Brendan Rodgers said on Tuesday, reflecting upon the latest success.
The Northern Irishman is a character who is hungry form more, emphasising that as he added: “I'm obviously proud but I don't want to dwell on it because there's so much more we want to achieve.”
The Hoops might have fallen to second in the league over the weekend, but with a game in hand over Rangers, Rodgers still feels they are in a fine state ahead of a tricky period in the season, in which Celtic will play a do-or-die Europa League home match with RB Salzburg next week.
“We’re in a very good position as a team and as a club,” he said. “We sit just behind in the league, with a game in hand, we’ve won our first cup competition, and have a great opportunity to qualify in Europe.
“What’s been great about this year is the competition. There’s no doubt it’s increased in the division this year, with lots of teams stepping up and playing very well - the likes of Rangers and Kilmarnock. Both Hearts and Hibs have hit a little spell but they’re still very competitive.
“We’re playing Motherwell tomorrow night, which will be another very competitive game.”
Well have enjoyed several successful years under manager Steve Robinson, but this is not shaping up to be one of them. They find themselves ninth in the standings and facing a battle to finish in the top six.
Anything they could take from Wednesday’s match would have to be seen as an unexpected bonus.