Celtic will be looking for three more points at Ross County | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Celtic will be looking to make up ground on leaders Rangers when they travel to Dingwall to face Ross County on Saturday afternoon.
After an embarrassing Champions League exit to Hungarian champions Ferencváros recently, Celtic’s season will be heavily focused upon achieving their tenth successive domestic title. An early draw at Kilmarnock dented those ambitions, but consecutive wins and two games in hand mean the Bhoys will be confident of achieving their goal.
Saturday’s opponents Ross County have made a solid start to the season and sit comfortably mid-table. However, four winless games in a row have checked early optimism and manager Stuart Kettlewell will be realistic about his team’s chances this weekend.
The two sides have contrasting ambitions this season | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
When Is Kick Off? Saturday 12 September
What Time Is Kick Off? 15:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Global Energy Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Ross County TV (UK & Ireland)
Referee? Andrew Dallas
Ross County made six signings this summer and all but one are available to face Celtic. Full back
Carl Tremarco is suspended following his sending off against Livingston. Kettlewell will likely stick to his tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 formation for this one.
Shane Duffy takes a first look round Celtic Park pic.twitter.com/ffogfK0ayS
— Andy Newport (@AndyNewportPA) September 8, 2020
Celtic boss Neil Lennon will be hoping to include new additions David Turnbull and Shane Duffy in his squad for the first time. Both have been on international duty with their respective countries and it is not certain whether either will start on Saturday. Apart from the COVID-enforced exclusion of defender Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo, Lennon has a full squad to choose from.
Ross County: Laidlaw; Randall, Donaldson, Iacovitti, Reid; Draper, Vigurs; Gardyne, Charles-Cook, Stewart; McKay.
Celtic: Barkas; Frimpong, Jullien, Duffy, Taylor; Brown, McGregor; Christie, Forrest, Ntcham; Edouard.
Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell | Jeff Holmes/Getty Images
Ross County won their first two league matches, but have struggled in recent weeks. However, while they have not won since early August, Ross County have remained competitive and only narrowly succumbed to defeats. Kettlewell will not be panicking just yet.
Celtic’s early season form has been overshadowed by their Champions League humiliation. While league form has been solid, but unspectacular, the Bhoys will be looking to close the gap on leaders Rangers before upcoming Europa League matches crowd their schedule. Ten goals in their last four games suggests their Ferencváros disaster will be worked out of their system.
Here is how each side has fared in their last five competitive matches:
Livingston 1-0 Ross County (29/8)
St Mirren 1-1 Ross County (22/8)
Ross County 1-2 Dundee United (15/8)
Ross County 2-2 Kilmarnock (12/8)
Hamilton Academical 0-1 Ross County (8/8)
Celtic 3-0 Motherwell (30/8)
Celtic 1-2 Ferencváros (26/8)
Dundee United 0-1 Celtic (22/8)
Celtic 6-0 KR Reykjavik (18/8)
Kilmarnock 1-1 Celtic (8/8)
Celtic boast an incredible record against Ross County. They have not tasted defeat against the Dingwall side in the league since the 2012/13 season and have won nine of the last 11 meetings – with an aggregate score of 32-4.
Celtic celebrate their victory over Motherwell last time out | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
While dropped points here would increase the pressure on Neil Lennon, the form book suggests that Celtic should stroll to victory here.
Prediction: Ross County 1-3 Celtic