Celtic predicted line-up to face Rangers: Dembele dilemma for Rodgers

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Leigh Griffiths after the game

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will decide whether Moussa Dembele or Leigh Griffiths will lead the line in the Old Firm derby trip to Rangers.

Domestically, the first half of the 2016-17 season has been an undeniable success for Brendan Rodgers' Celtic - as the Ulsterman is unbeaten since taking the helm at Celtic Park midway through 2016. 

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers with Rangers manager Mark Warburton before the game

All that remains for Celtic to start 2017 with a 15th successive Scottish Premiership victory is to overcome the challenge presented by Old Firm rivals Rangers. Indeed, ahead of this New Year's Eve derby clash, Celtic sit 16 points clear at top of the table with a game in hand to boot.

However, impressive as Celtic's current campaign may be, the Hoops should be mindful that Rangers hold the upper hand when it comes to this fixture's history - as on their travels to Ibrox, Celtic have only tasted victory on 35 of the 152 match-ups between the sides.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele celebrates

The most recent league encounter, September's reverse fixture, saw Celtic emphatically down their Glasgow neighbours 5-1, with Bhoys striker Moussa Dembele scoring an impressive hat-trick. In order to secure a starting berth this time round, Dembele, who has scored eight goals in 12 league starts this season, will have to see off the challenge of fellow goal-getter Leigh Griffiths.

Scotland international Griffiths is also in fine form, having bagged the same number of league goals as Dembele, but from two fewer starts. Who Rodgers will select to lead his front line remains to be seen, but the likelihood is for Dembele to start and Griffiths to impact from the bench.

Celtic's Tomas Rogic celebrates scoring their first goal with Leigh Griffiths and Scott Brown

Rodgers may have one further decision to make before settling on his starting XI - that being the choice to replace the injured Tom Rogic in the more forward thinking central midfield role. Callum McGregor and Patrick Roberts are both strong candidates, but it could be that 21-year-old Ryan Christie gets the nod after his impressive performance in Celtic's previous game, a 2-0 defeat of Ross County.

Ryan Christie celebrates scoring the sixth goal for Celtic

Whilst Rodgers may alter his front line, the defensive unit is settled and expected to be unchanged - meaning that goalkeeper Craig Gordon starts behind a back four consisting of Mikael Lustig, Emilio Izaguirre and the strong pairing of Erik Sviatchenko and Jozo Simunovic at centre backs.

Celtic's Scott Sinclair scores their third goal

The midfield duo of Stuart Armstrong and captain Scott Brown are likely to be deployed as the deep lying double pivot, enabling the offensive talents of Scott Sinclair and James Forrest to provide service and support to Dembele and influence the game in the final third.

Here's the predicted Celtic line-up in full:

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