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Confirmed Celtic team vs Cluj: Ntcham starts in exciting Lennon team, Simunovic returns

Neil Lennon, manager of Celtic gestures during the UEFA Champions League First Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match between Celtic and FC Sarajevo at Celtic Park Stadium on July 17, 2019 in...

Celtic take on Cluj at Celtic Park in UEFA Champions League qualifying action.

Neil Lennon, manager of Celtic gestures during the UEFA Champions League First Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match between Celtic and FC Sarajevo at Celtic Park Stadium on July 17, 2019 in...

Neil Lennon has named his Celtic team for tonight's European encounter at home to Cluj at Celtic Park, as per UEFA.com.

The full match squad is:

Starting XI: Bain, Elhamed, Simunovic, Ajer, Brown, Christie, McGregor, Ntcham, Forrest, Johnston, Edouard.

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Substitutes: Gordon, Jullien, Bitton, Griffiths, Bayo, Morgan, Bolingoli.

With the tie so important to the Hoops' ambitions this season, Lennon has obviously opted to select one of his strongest teams possible.

The headline news is that Olivier Ntcham starts after showing red hot form in recent matches. The midfielder looked to be on the brink of a Hoops exit earlier this summer but his recent performances mean he is trusted tonight.

Six of the team's starting eleven have already scored this term. It's an exciting, attacking lineup.

Jozo Simunovic, Kristoffer Ajer and Hatem Abd Elhamed also start in what looks to be a three man central defence, as new arrival Christopher Jullien misses out.

The big money summer signing has taken his time to get up to full match sharpness and Lennon clearly feels he is not quite ready for the most important fixture of the season so far.

 

Lennon may have also gone for a back four with Callum McGregor at left-back, but that would be a bold call considering Boli Bolingoli is fit and on the bench.

After drawing 1-1 in Romania last week, there's lots of work to do tonight and Celtic must approach the match with victory in mind rather than think to rely on their away goal.

Mikey Johnston is on hand to help those attacking efforts after missing the first leg and weekend match against Motherwell because of hamstring tightness.

Odsonne Edouard again gets the nod as the team's lone striker despite strong pressure from Leigh Griffiths. The Frenchman has scored three goals and assisted three more already this season and will be crucial in securing a result.

Odsonne Edouard of Celtic FC in action against Paulo Vinicius of CFR Cluj  during the UEFA Champions League 2019

Ryan Christie also returns to the starting lineup after being rested against the Steelmen. No-one at the Hoops has had a better start to the season than him and he'll be aiming to add to the seven goals he's netted already this term.

With a strong bench that includes strikers Leigh Griffiths and Vakoun Bayo too, the Hoops are well stocked this evening and should have enough firepower to progress into the play-off round to face Slavia Prague.

Ryan Christie of Celtic FC in action   during the UEFA Champions League 2019

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