Dress rehearsal at Parkhead
After the euphoria of an away derby trouncing, the reality will hit hard as Inverness visit their League Cup Final venue of Parkhead to take on Celtic, who suffered their first SPFL defeat in midweek to Aberdeen.
Inverness are on a high just now, days after a crushing derby victory in Dingwall and heading towards the League Cup final. A run of three wins, all clean sheets and recent victories over Aberdeen and bogey side St Johnstone. This has put us within touching distance of Motherwell and clear on our own in fourth place looking good for a top six finish with the possibility of a Scottish Cup run to back up the League Cup one and it's not been a bad season so far, has it.
Celtic lost their aura in midweek as they slumped to defeat at Pittodrie and lost their first goal in 13 SPFL games as Jonny Hayes smashed a superb goal behind Fraser Forster and Adam Rooney added a second with the head. Incidentally, Aberdeen were the last team to put a goal past Forster way back on 23rd November. I suppose it's not been a bad season for Celtic either.
Of course, we did score twice against Celtic this season as well, but we relinquished our lead to end up with a 2-2 draw in August. A repeat of that would be pleasing. The return fixture in Inverness saw Celtic win narrowly by 1-0, an early Commons goal doing the damage.
Virgil van Dijk's red card has been rescinded and he will be free to play against Inverness. Stefan Johansen has recovered from an ankle injury, but Mikael Lustig, Beram Kayal and Steven Mouyokolo will miss the visit of Inverness who have no fresh injury worries.
John Hughes has choices if he wishes to tinker with his line up, but he is torn between giving it a go, or trying to find his best team/formation for the League Cup final in a couple of weeks. Billy McKay is celebrating another international call up, great recognition for the form he has been in this season.
tm4tj prediction:- It's difficult to see Celtic slipping up twice in the same week in domestic football, but if anyone can do it, then we can. Our midfield is as good as any in the league and in striker Billy McKay we have a player who can upset the best of them. Kris Commons does likewise for Celtic but if our defence stays focussed, then a share of the points is on the cards.