Match Preview - Celtic (H)
Ross County are finally back on home turf on Saturday as we welcome the champions, Celtic, to Dingwall for a 12:30 PM kick-off, live on Sky Sports. It has been a packed schedule, and this match continues that theme, making this our fourth match in 12 days.
There have been big changes in the east end of Glasgow over the summer, with Ange Postecoglou swapping Parkhead for London in joining Tottenham Hotspur.
Brendan Rodgers is back in the hot seat, and mostly, Celtic’s dominant form has continued.
The Hoops are yet to lose a match in the league this season, having won eight and drawn two.
Celtic are also the top scorers in the Premiership – whilst having the joint-best defensive record, which in their eyes will be the perfect recipe for success.
However, Celtic have hiccupped on occasion the season, suffering losses not only on the European stage but in the league cup too. Kilmarnock, who we debated at Rugby Park earlier in the campaign, knocked Celtic out of the League Cup in what was a shock result.
Celtic recently picked up an incredibly impressive result in the Champions League – where they held Atletico Madrid to a 2-2 draw.
The style of play from last season has changed – however Celtic are still operating with a 4-3-3 formation under former Leicester City gaffer Rodgers.
They do concede goals – and that again was evident during the week as they narrowly squeezed past St Mirren with a late goal, after going one nil down early on.
Player to Watch
He has taken his time to break into the regular XI for Celtic since signing from Aris Thessaloniki in the summer, but Luis Palma has put a real stamp on this side recently.
The winger from Honduras has been in a rich vein of form, netting three goals and grabbing one assist in his last seven matches.
His dynamic movement and clever finishing make him a real danger – and his confidence will be sky-high after netting in that impressive draw with Atletico.
Even if Palma doesn’t start, he could be a danger from the bench – having already scored against Motherwell as a substitute.
Palma has been one of package of players brought in as a replacement for Jota – and he is starting to live up to the fore of being a starting Celtic winger. He is balancing the Celtic width nicely – offering a more technical and closely controlled style of play than his counterpart winger Daizen Maeda.
We have picked up three positive points on the road in the long away matches. The players, management team and us supporters clocked up over 1000 miles on the clock.
After losing two late goals at Fir Park on the weekend, the Staggies took that script and flipped it on its head in Edinburgh. In a clash against Hibernian, an own goal and a stunning Jordan White strike meant the Staggies fought back from two goals down to claim a huge point on the road.
We have found the goal trail again after a sticky few weeks – having netted five goals in just our past two matches.
The draw in Edinburgh meant that we hauled ourselves away from the relegation zone, which is a nice incentive going into this difficult clash.
Malky has maintained his switch to a back-four formation and may be tempted to steer away from a more defensive shape for this one due to the hugely positive performance we showed at Celtic Park in the early stages of this season.
Player to Watch
Since switching back to a formation with four defenders, it has allowed Malky Mackay to pack our midfield with more quality. One player who has grasped his opportunity is Victor Loturi.
The Canada international grabbed his first Premiership goal last weekend against Motherwell and put in a strong display in the capital at Easter Road.
The midfielder has undoubted technical ability alongside a magnificent passing range which holds the key to unlocking any defence.
Loturi has always stood out well in big matches like these and is well in line for another start to show us not only us Staggies fans just how good he can be, but the whole nation who will be watching live on TV too.
We have had many successful clashes with the green half of Glasgow – some particularly the biggest results in County history.
In what turned out to be Neil Lennon’s last game in charge, Jordan White powered home a magnificent header in a 1-0 victory masterminded by John Hughes.
Earlier in that same season, Celtic crashed out of the cup at the hands of ourselves. Ross Stewart and Alex Iacovitti netted to give us a magnificent 2-1 win in a memorable cup upset.
One that Ross County fans still chat about to this day is of course the 2016 League Cup semi-final, in which we put Celtic to the sword in a bruising 3-1 win. Martin Woods netted from the penalty spot, while goals from Paul Quinn and Alex Schalk made sure that we were finalists.
Staggies legend Michael Gardyne came through the ranks with the Hoops, and he of course arrived in Dingwall and became not only the club record goal scorer but appearance holder too.
Jackson Irvine, Marcus Fraser, and Scott Fox were all cup winners with the Staggies who came through the Celtic academy.
Paul Lawson, who had great success here in Dingwall, was another player who made their way into the professional game in the east end of Glasgow.
Referee: David Munro.
VAR: Andrew Dallas.
Ross Callachan and Ben Paton remain out alongside Josh Reid.
Josh Sims is recovering from a setback so could be in contention for this one.
Will Nightingale returned to action against Hibernian.
Tickets can be purchased from the following link: Ross County FC vs Celtic FC - MyProVenue™ (tickets.com)
Turnstiles will open at 11:00 AM on Saturday to ensure that everybody enters in a quick and efficient manner, please arrive early to avoid queues. Please ensure that you have your ticket ready. Please DO NOT attend the stadium if you do not have a ticket or are in possession of a fake/old ticket. There will be NO tickets available to purchase on the day of the match. Should you need help finding the correct entrance/seat please ask one of the stewards on hand. Tickets purchased should not be transferred, the person registered at the time of purchase will be held responsible for the ticket/s. The club shop will be open from 9:30 AM until KO and will be open after the game for a short period. Ticket Collections are available until 4:30 on Friday in the shop as well as from 10:00 AM until KO on Saturday from the Ticket Office opposite the shop.
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