Graphic: Why Ronny Delia should select this Celtic XI versus St. Johnstone

Celtic Stands

Celtic host St. Johnstone at Parkhead this weekend

Celtic will look to bounce back from their disappointing Champions League qualifying exit to Malmo when they take on St. Johnstone at Parkhead this weekend.

Boss Ronny Delia opted to make several changes to his side for their trip to Dundee United last weekend, but the decision to rest key players for the big European clash failed to pay off as they lost 2-0.

Celtic boast a competitive squad with a number of options available, but Delia might be wise to keep the core of the team who lost to Malmo in for this weekend so they can quickly get it out of their system.

Back five:

The more attacking Emilio Izaguirre ought to come in at left-back, while on the other side with Mikael Lustig’s fitness still a possible issue, Delia should play it safe and opt for Efe Ambrose on the right.

The centre-back pairing of Dedryck Boyata and Virgil van Dijk should remain in place, giving the latter the opportunity to put his demanding game against Malmo well and truly behind him.

Midfield duo:

Similarly with Scott Brown, perhaps Delia would be wise to stick with him so that he can have the opportunity to bounce back from his disappointing performance in Sweden.

Brown was picked up on his lack of leadership last night, and he will want to put that right by helping the team’s younger players such as Nir Bitton and Tomas Rogic grow in the middle.

The latter was left on the bench against Malmo, but he impressed against Dundee United last weekend and his freshness could be well received for the visit of Tommy Wright’s men.

Attacking quartet:

With top scorer Leigh Griffiths the club’s best option upfront in the absence of Nadir Ciftci, he is arguably irreplaceable at the moment with a lack of genuine competition through the middle.

Gary Mackay-Steven hasn’t had too many opportunities to shine so far this season, but he played well last weekend and arguably deserves another shot ahead of James Forrest on Saturday.

Kris Commons was only a half-time substitute last night, with the decision to drop him to the bench a questionable one. His link-up play with Griffiths is excellent, and he’s in need of another goal or two.

Anthony Stokes must be itching for more game time, but the last spot ought to go to Stuart Armstrong who by his standards will be eager to put in a much better display than what he offered in Malmo.

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