MX23RW : Tuesday, August 3 10:47:49| >> :120:64369:64369:
Dec 23, 2020 at 6pm UK at Celtic Park
CelticCeltic
2-0
Ross CountyRoss County
Turnbull (24'), Griffiths (62')
FT(HT: 1-0)

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

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

Celtic head into their Scottish Premiership encounter with Ross County on Wednesday night hoping that a win will be the start of a much-needed run of form if they are to close the 16-point gap to rivals Rangers at the top of the table.

Ross County, meanwhile, face the dawn of a new era following the sacking of Stuart Kettlewell last weekend and the appointment of a new head coach.


Match preview

Celtic's Conor Hazard in action during the Scottish Cup final with Hearts on December 20, 2020© Reuters

Celtic were able to clinch their 40th Scottish Cup trophy last weekend, although they had to work hard for it against their Scottish Championship opponents.

The Hoops took an early two-goal lead through Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard, however second-half strikes from Hearts pair Liam Boyce and Stephen Kingsley levelled the scores and took the match to extra time.

Leigh Griffiths put Celtic ahead before substitute Josh Ginnelly's equaliser made it 3-3, which saw the match go to penalties. Hoops goalkeeper Conor Hazard proved the hero, saving two spot kicks to help win the cup for Neil Lennon's side.

After a run of only two wins from 12 matches in all competitions, Celtic have since won their last three games and Lennon will be hoping that the pressure has eased.

Celtic have won their last seven league meetings with Ross County, scoring 26 goals and conceding just one since a 2-2 draw in April 2017.

A much-needed victory in the league on Wednesday night could move them within 13 points of leaders Rangers if they were to lose at St Johnstone, with the Hoops having three games in hand.

John Hughes in charge of Hibernian in 2010© Reuters

Ross County's 2-0 home loss against Hamilton prompted the immediate sacking of manager Stuart Kettlewell, with the club bottom of the Scottish Premiership.

Kettlewell, who had been in charge since March 2018, admitted the decision was a "sore one" for him but said he was "grateful for the opportunity".

The Staggies have since announced the appointment of new head coach John Hughes, who is a hugely-experienced figure within Scottish football having previously managed Hibernian, Livingston, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Falkirk, and Raith Rovers.

The 56-year-old's first game in charge will be the trip to Celtic Park on Wednesday night - a ground where they recorded a famous victory in the Scottish League Cup at the end of November.

Ross County however have not tasted victory in the league since September. They have picked up just two points from their last 10 matches, losing six of their last seven games.

Hughes has a huge task on his hands as he aims to turn their fortunes around and keep the club in the top flight.

Another surprise victory at Celtic would see Ross County remain at the foot of the table, but they could move within one point of Hamilton if they were to lose to Livingston.

Celtic Scottish Premiership form: LDWDDW
Celtic form (all competitions): LLDWWW

Ross County Scottish Premiership form: LDLLLL
Ross County form (all competitions): LWLLLL


Team News

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

Winger James Forrest is currently Celtic's only injury concern, as he is still recovering from an ankle problem.

Right-back Jeremie Frimpong, who started the League Cup final on the bench, is likely to be recalled to the first XI, while Diego Laxalt is set to replace Greg Taylor at left-back.

Regan Charles-Cook is the latest addition to the Ross County casualty list as he is ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Connor Randall (back), Charlie Lakin (thigh), Tom Grivosti (hamstring) are also sidelined with injuries.

Strikers Billy Mckay and Oli Shaw are likely to remain in the starting lineup in attack.

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Hazard; Frimpong, Ajer, Jullien, Laxalt; Brown, McGregor; Christie, Rogic, Elyounoussi; Edouard

Ross County possible starting lineup:
Laidlaw; Watson, Donaldson, Iacovitti; Stewart, Paton, Vigurs, Tillson, Reid; Mckay, Shaw


SM words green background

We say: Celtic 3-0 Ross County

Both sides are eager to win this Scottish Premiership encounter for different reasons. The Staggies are looking to move off the bottom of the table, while Celtic are desperate to close the colossal gap between themselves and rivals Rangers. The Hoops may have lost to Ross County last time out in the Scottish League Cup but should be strong enough to secure three points on Wednesday night.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data


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Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths pictured in September 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina29171662
United StatesUnited States22251764
JapanJapan1761033
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1RangersRangers11003033
2Aberdeen11002023
3Hibernian11003213
4Hearts11002113
5Dundee10102201
6St Mirren10102201
7Ross County10100001
8St Johnstone10100001
9Motherwell100123-10
10Celtic100112-10
11Dundee UnitedDundee Utd100102-20
12Livingston100103-30

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