Preview: Kilmarnock vs. Celtic – prediction, team news, lineups

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Preview: Kilmarnock vs. Celtic – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Scottish Premiership clash between Kilmarnock and Celtic, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

On the brink of securing their third straight league title, leaders Celtic will make the trip to Rugby Park on Wednesday night to face Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership.

Killie’s victory over St Mirren last time out secured a place in the Europa League next term, whilst the Bhoys recorded an Old Firm derby win against Rangers.

Match preview

© Reuters

After collecting just the single point from their opening two Premiership matches since the post-season split, Kilmarnock achieved a significant feat courtesy of their 1-0 victory at the home of St Mirren – one which we see them enjoy at least two games on the continental stage.

Kyle Vassell‘s emphatic finish versus the Saints was enough to secure a place in the second round of Europa League qualifying this summer, meaning that Killie could be one of the first sides to play in the tournament’s revamped league phase.

Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes admitted that a spot in Europe was not on the agenda at the beginning of the term, but the way his side have grown into the campaign has allowed them to seal an exciting pair of fixtures next season.

Heading into the penultimate game of the Premiership term, Killie are occupying fourth position in the top-tier standings, 11 points behind third-placed Hearts but nine ahead of St Mirren in fifth.

Celtic's Matt O'Riley celebrates scoring against Rangers on May 11, 2024© Reuters

Celtic have one hand on the Scottish Premiership trophy for a third straight campaign following Saturday’s Old Firm derby win over arch rivals Rangers, with the Bhoys once again showing their composure on the big occasion, meaning that they have now navigated four matches versus Philippe Clement‘s side without defeat.

Assuming the role as talisman for Brendan Rodgers‘s troops this season, Matt O’Riley was on hand to give his side the lead and three minutes later John Lundstram netted an own goal, rendering Cyriel Dessers‘s strike a mere consolation for the visitors at a jubilant Parkhead.

Fast approaching their final away match of the Premiership campaign, Celtic are in a commanding position as they look to retain the Scottish crown, with Wednesday’s visitors six points ahead of Rangers in second with only two matches left to play.

The Bhoys could have first place wrapped up without even kicking a ball this week, with Rangers requiring a victory over sixth-placed Dundee on Tuesday night to keep the Gers’ faint hopes of winning the division alive for another 24 hours at least.

One of Celtic’s three Premiership defeats this season arrived at Rugby Park versus Kilmarnock in the middle of December, when an own goal from Nat Phillips and a strike from Killie winger Matthew Kennedy sent Rodgers’s side back to Glasgow empty-handed.

Kilmarnock Scottish Premiership form:

Celtic Scottish Premiership form:

Celtic form (all competitions):

Team News

Celtic's Cameron Carter-Vickers with teammates celebrate after winning the penalty shoot-out on April 20, 2024© Reuters

Suffering a hamstring injury versus Rangers at the start of the month, Kilmarnock’s Brad Lyons has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Wigan Athletic loanee James Balagizi has played a bit-part role this term and is currently in the Killie medical room due to a sprained knee.

Celtic remain without the services of midfielder James McCarthy, who suffered a hamstring strain and is not expected to feature before the campaign’s end.

Despite fitness worries in recent weeks, Cameron Carter-Vickers was a solid partner for Liam Scales in the Bhoys’ defence against Rangers, with both set to retain their spots in the XI.

Rodgers could opt to rotate some of his men following an emotionally-charged victory on the weekend, meaning that Nicolas-Gerrit Kuhn and Adam Idah might be promoted from the bench.

Kilmarnock possible starting lineup:
Dennis; Mayo, Deas, Findlay, Ndaba; Armstrong, Donnelly, Watson, Kennedy; Watkins, Vassell

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Hart; Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Scales, Taylor; McGregor, O’Riley, Hatate; Kuhn, Maeda, Furuhashi

SM words green background

We say: Kilmarnock 0-3 Celtic

With a Europa League berth already secured, there could be a drop in performance levels from Kilmarnock as they face the soon-to-be Scottish champions.

Celtic passed their Rangers test with flying colours, meaning that a routine success at Rugby Park on Wednesday night will confirm their Premiership title.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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