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Preview: Celtic vs. Ross County - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Scottish League Cup clash between Celtic and Ross County, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Celtic host Ross County in the Scottish League Cup on Sunday hoping to bounce back after another 4-1 loss to Sparta Prague in the Europa League.

Meanwhile, Ross County are looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign, when they won the competition.


Match preview

Sparta Prague's Lukas Julis celebrates scoring against Celtic in the Europa League on November 26, 2020© Reuters

Neil Lennon insists that he can turn Celtic's form around after another heavy defeat to Sparta Prague on Thursday night, which has increased the pressure on the Hoops boss.

Sparta scored another four goals past the Scottish side as they did in the reverse fixture, with striker Lukas Julis, who scored a hat-trick in Glasgow, netting a brace which confirmed Celtic's elimination from the Europa League.

The Hoops, who have won just two of their last nine matches in all competitions, are desperate to bring positivity back to Celtic Park and end their miserable run of form.

Celtic do have an impressive record in the Scottish League Cup, having won the competition five times in the previous six years, including their 19th triumph last season, beating Rangers in the final 1-0.

The last time Celtic failed to progress from this stage was back in 2013 when they suffered a surprise 1-0 loss after extra time against Greenock Morton.

Being knocked out of a second tournament in less than a week is something that Lennon cannot afford, especially against a side who have failed to beat them in their last 12 attempts.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Ross County are yet to impress in the top-flight this campaign, but they have done well in the Scottish League Cup - winning all four of their Group D games and scoring more goals than in the league despite playing 11 fewer matches.

The Staggies have won only one of their last 13 Scottish Premiership games and in their most recent they suffered a 3-1 loss to ten-men Kilmarnock last weekend.

Ross County are the last team to win the League Cup aside from Celtic – lifting the trophy in the 2015-16 season – and manager Stuart Kettlewell will be hoping to use that previous cup triumph as motivation when facing Celtic on Sunday.

A surprise victory away from home would be their first at Celtic Park since the 2009-10 campaign when they beat the Hoops 2-0 in this competition.

Celtic form (all competitions): DWLWDL

Ross County Scottish League Cup form: WWWW
Ross County form (all competitions): LLDWWL


Team News

Celtic players celebrate Shane Duffy's goal against Ross County on September 12, 2020© Reuters

Celtic midfielder David Turnbull is unavailable for selection after testing positive for coronavirus, while striker Leigh Griffiths is also ruled out with a knee injury.

Defender Shane Duffy, who scored against Ross County in the 5-0 victory in September, could be recalled to the side after sitting on the bench for the previous three matches.

Celtic's top goalscorer Albian Ajeti could also be recalled to the starting XI, replacing Odsonne Edouard, who scored on Thursday night against Sparta Prague.

Ross County goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw, who has played in all four League Cup matches this season, is set to replace Ross Doohan in the starting lineup as he in ineligible to face his parent club.

Striker Ross C Stewart, who has scored three goals in as many matches in the competition, is set to lead the line once more.

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Bain; Frimpong, Duffy, Ajer, Taylor; Brown, McGregor; Christie, Rogic, Elyounoussi; Ajeti

Ross County possible starting lineup:
Laidlaw; Grivosti, Donaldson, Iacovitti, Reid; Paton, Tillson, Vigurs; Charles-Cook, Gardyne; Stewart


SM words green background

We say: Celtic 4-1 Ross County

With pressure mounting to get results we expect a response from the Hoops as against Motherwell three weeks ago. Ross County have done well so far in this competition, but the quality and desire of Celtic should see Neil Lennon's side win comfortably and confirm their place in the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data


ID:424107:cQx

How you voted: Celtic vs Ross County

Celtic
86.0%
Draw
10.0%
Ross County
4.0%
50
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Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths pictured in September 2020
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Neil Lennon sweating over Leigh Griffiths fitness for Ross County clash
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1RangersRangers2421306075366
2Celtic21136246163045
3Hibernian2411763324940
4Aberdeen2211652924539
5Livingston229492827131
6Dundee UnitedDundee Utd2461081929-1028
7Kilmarnock2373132428-424
8St Mirren2165101624-823
9St Johnstone2458112233-1123
10Ross County2455141843-2520
11Motherwell2247111933-1419
12Hamilton AcademicalHamilton2354142147-2619

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