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Preview: Hibernian vs. Celtic - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between Hibernian and Celtic, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Celtic will be looking to end a disappointing 2020-21 campaign on a high and claim all three points when they travel to Hibernian on Saturday for the final Scottish Premiership game of the season.

All eyes will be on Hoops midfielder Scott Brown, who is set to make his final appearance for the club before he joins Aberdeen in the summer.

Match preview

Celtic's Scott Brown reacts on February 27, 2020© Reuters

Celtic cruised to their 22nd league victory of the campaign when they beat high-flying St Johnstone 4-0 on Wednesday evening.

First-half goals from David Turnbull and Odsonne Edouard were followed by second-half strikes from Kristoffer Ajer and Karamoko Dembele, to seal another thumping win for the Hoops in what was Brown's final appearance at Celtic Park.

The 35-year-old, who assisted Edouard for the second goal, has agreed to join Aberdeen as a player-coach next season, ending his 14-year association with the club.

Brown – who has won 22 domestic trophies with the Hoops, including 10 Scottish Premiership titles – will play his 611th and final game for the club against the team where it all began; the midfielder came through the youth system at Hibernian before making a £4.4m move to Celtic in 2007.

John Kennedy's side have been in fine form on home soil in recent weeks, winning their last three matches in all competitions by an aggregate score of 13-0. However, they have struggled on the road, failing to win any of their last five away games.

Celtic have played against Hibs three times this season, drawing their only encounter at Easter Road 2-2 in November. The last time the Hoops lost to the Edinburgh outfit was in April 2018, suffering a 2-1 defeat away from home, but since then they are unbeaten in 11 meetings against them.

The Hoops have endured a difficult 2020-21 campaign, failing to lift silverware for the first time since 2010, but securing three points on Saturday would be a fitting tribute as they bid farewell to Brown, one of the club's all-time greatest players.

Hibernian manager Jack Ross pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Hibernian followed up their Scottish Cup semi-final win against Dundee United last weekend with a narrow 1-0 league victory away at Aberdeen on Wednesday evening.

A brilliant 20-yard volley from Christian Doidge four minutes before half time was the only goal of the game, as Jack Ross's side claimed their 11th Scottish Premiership win on the road; only champions Rangers have won more top-flight away games this season.

That result helped Hibs consolidate third place, their highest top-flight finish since 2004-05, moving six points clear of the Dons in fourth.

Ross has had an impressive first full season at the helm, guiding the Edinburgh outfit to 18 league victories and 62 points, accumulating 27 more than last term and 25 more than the season before.

Hibs will also have the chance to qualify for the Europa League next season for the first time since 2018-19, when they were eliminated in the third qualifying round by Norwegian side Molde.

Ross's men are sure to have one eye on the Scottish Cup final against St Johnstone later this month, but claiming a victory against Celtic would be a great way to head into the showpiece event at Hampden Park, where they will be looking to lift their first piece of silverware since 2016.

Hibernian Scottish Premiership form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Hibernian form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Celtic Scottish Premiership form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Celtic form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W

Team News

Celtic's Callum McGregor with teammates before the match in March 2021© Reuters

Hibernian goalkeeper Ofir Marciano appears to have played his final game for the club, as the Israeli international is set to leave when his contract expires at the end of this season.

Former Arsenal stopper Matt Macey, who has started the last two games, is set to keep his place in the side on Saturday.

Centre-back Ryan Porteous was an unused substitute in the win at Aberdeen but he could be handed a start at the expense of Darren McGregor, while Kyle Magennis could play in midfield ahead of either Melker Hallberg or Martin Boyle.

Striker Kevin Nisbet – who has scored 14 league goals this season and is four behind Celtic's Edouard in the race for the Golden Boot – is expected to start up front alongside Doidge.

As for Celtic, goalkeeper Scott Bain was ruled out for the game against St Johnstone with a finger injury and he is not expected to feature on Saturday, which could see Vasilis Barkas keep his place in the first XI.

Callum McGregor is back from suspension and may have the honour to start in central midfield alongside captain Brown, with one of Turnbull or Ryan Christie set to drop to the bench.

Teenage left back Adam Montgomery made his senior debut when he started against the Saints in midweek but he could be replaced by Diego Laxalt, who is set to play his final game for the club before his loan spell from AC Milan expires at the end of this month.

Jonjoe Kenny and Mohamed Elyounoussi could also be playing their final match for the Hoops this weekend, as their respective loans from Everton and Southampton will expire at the end of the season.

Hibernian possible starting lineup:
Macey; McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon, Doig; Boyle, Magennis, Newell, Murphy; Nisbet, Doidge

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Barkas; Kenny, Welsh, Ajer, Laxalt; McGregor, Brown; Forrest, Turnbull, Elyounoussi; Edouard

SM words green background

We say: Hibernian 1-3 Celtic

Celtic have struggled away from home in recent weeks but face a Hibernian side who have won just seven of their 17 league matches at Easter Road this season. The Hoops have also scored 37 goals on the road, more than any other side in the division.

After cruising to victory against St Johnstone in midweek – and with Hibs also having on eye on the Scottish Cup final later this month – we feel that Kennedy's side will secure all three points this weekend.

Top tip

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