Davie Hay predicts which Celtic striker Brendan Rodgers will pick for Astana tie

General view of Celtic Park

The Scottish Premiership side travel to Kazakhstan as they continue their quest to reach the Champions League group stages.

Celtic manager Brendan RodgersCeltic manager Brendan Rodgers

Davie Hay has predicted that Leigh Griffiths will be the one leading the line for Celtic in their clash with Astana, despite the fact that it has been Moussa Dembele who has been selected in the main striker role so far under Brendan Rodgers, the Evening Times reports.

The Hoops travel to Kazakhstan for the first-leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie that takes place next Wednesday. 

Moussa Dembele celebrates scoring the second goal for FulhamMoussa Dembele has been playing as a central-striker in pre-season

And in what promises to be a much tougher test than facing the Lincoln Red Imps - who the Bhoys overcame in the previous round - Hay has suggested that while he is a big fan of Dembele, the ruthlessness in Griffiths' game makes him the perfect option for the challenge that awaits.

"I don't doubt that it will be just the one up front next week against Astana and although you look at Moussa Dembele and think that physically he looks like the right kind of striker to lead the line, I suspect that it might actually be Leigh Griffiths who gets the nod," he told the Evening Times.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths celebrates after scoring their second goalCeltic's Leigh Griffiths

"I think that Dembele is a smashing acquisition, a player that was alerting some of the top clubs in the Premiership last season. So I fully expect the lad to have a big role to play as this season unfolds but you have to remember that he is still very young and relatively inexperienced.

"Griffiths, by contrast, led the line himself last season and with a haul of 40 goals, did it pretty well. Given the nature of the game over in Kazakhstan, it could be that Griffiths is the ideal player to have in that role because I suspect that there really won't be too many chances."

Leigh Griffiths scores the second goal for CelticLeigh Griffiths scoring in the recent win over Lincoln Red Imps

Although Hay believes that Griffiths should play as the centre-forward, Brendan Rodgers may decide to stick with the system that he has used throughout pre-season. 

Last season's top goalscorer has been deployed on the right of a front three, while the former Fulham man has played through the middle. And while Dembele is yet to get off the mark for his new club, Griffiths has hinted that he is gearing up for another season like last year where he scored 31 league goals. 

But with Astana proving last term that they are capable of reaching the group stages of the competition, Rodgers may feel that it makes more sense to temporarily abandon the foundations they have laid in pre-season and instead turn to his talisman to lead the line. 

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch