After the passing of the legendary Billy McNeill, the Hoops hope to mark his memory in celebratory style at Parkhead
It promises to be an emotional occasion when Celtic host Kilmarnock on Saturday, with the home side set to pay tribute to the late Billy McNeill, who passed away earlier this week.
The first British captain to ever lift the European Cup, he was an iconic figure in the club’s history and there is sure to be an immense outpouring of grief in Glasgow’s East End.
Football will take a back seat, though Celtic can move to within a point of the title if they can pick up maximum points against opponents chasing a Europa League spot.
|Game||Celtic vs Kilmarnock|
|Date||Saturday, April 26|
|Time||12:30pm BST / 7:30am EST|
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed via B/R Live.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the UK, the game is being shown on Sky Sports Football and available online via Sky Go.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Football||Sky Go|
|Goalkeepers||Bain, De Vries|
|Defenders||Toljan, Izaguirre, Simunovic, Gambao, Lustig, Benkovic, Ajer, Gutman, Benkovic|
|Midfielders||Brown, Sinclair, Hayes, Ntcham, McGregor, Forrest, Henderson, Johnston, Allan, Rogic|
|Forwards||Edouard, Burke, Weah, Bayo|
Celtic’s injury list is prodigiously long, with Kieran Tierney dropping out last weekend. He adds to a list of defensive absentees that includes Tony Ralston, Dedryck Boyata and Jack Henry, as well as goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
Eboue Kouassi and Ryan Christie are absent from the midfield, while in attack Daniel Arzani and Leigh Griffiths are unavailable.
Possible Celtic starting XI: Bain; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer, Izaguirre; McGregor, Brown; Forrest, Rogic, Hayes; Edouard
|Goalkeepers||MacDonald, Bachmann, Mackay|
|Defenders||Bruce, Boyd, Higgins, Taylor, Waters, O’Donnell, Millen|
|Midfielders||Tshibola, Dicker, Power, Burke, Jones, Frizzell|
|Forwards||Ndjoli, McKenzie, McAleny, Brophy, Millar|
Kilmarnock are without Stuart Findlay and Kirk Broadfoot after both were sent off last weekend. Rory McKenzie was also dismissed, though he has seen his red card downgraded to a yellow and can start this game.
Scott Boyd remains out while Youssuf Mulumbu cannot play against his parent side.
Possible Kilmarnock starting XI: Bachmann; O’Donnell, Waters, Bruce, Taylor; Power, Dicker, Tshibola, Burke, Brophy; McKenzie
Celtic are strong favourites to win on Saturday, priced at 1/4 with bet356. Kilmarnock are a 12/1 shot, while the draw is on offer at 9/2.
Click here to see more offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
Celtic have been rocked this week by the death of Billy McNeill, perhaps the most legendary figure in the club’s history and the only captain to have picked up the European Cup in the famous green and white hoops.
Tributes have poured in all around the footballing world since the news broke on Tuesday and the mood around the ground on Saturday is sure to be an emotional one, although the family want it to be a celebratory one.
“Our father would not have wanted the stadium to be silent,” they stated. “They should be places of noise, passion and enjoyment.
“Football was his life and Celtic Park was a very large part of that. So please celebrate his life with a moment of cheers, songs and applause, because that would make him feel at home again.”
In a fitting tribute to the former Scotland defender, who had spells in charge of Manchester City and Aston Villa as manager, the Hoops will hold a 67 second applause to honour the year in which he led the club in their greatest hour.
Although Celtic cannot win the league on Sunday after being held to a scoreless draw by Hibs last weekend, they can close to within a point of the title and manager Neil Lennon said his troops are eager to seal a third successive domestic treble in McNeill’s memory.
“With this in the background, it makes it even more significant,” he said.
“The players will be highly motivated on two fronts now. We’re a club in mourning. Billy McNeill was Celtic. He was an icon, a hero.
“My image of Billy will always be him stood on that podium in Lisbon, this Adonis in a green and white shirt holding the cup. I can’t put into words how big a loss he is for this club.”
Lennon will hope the news can act as a spur to his players, who have drawn successive league matches 0-0 against Livingston and Hibs.
Kilmarnock approach the match off the back of a 1-0 loss against Aberdeen, which was marked by three red cards.
Manager Steve Clarke felt that his side were on the wrong side of the “worst refereeing performance” of his experience, comments which he has been charged by the SFA for.
His Kilmarnock side now trail the Dons by three points in the race for the third and final European spot with four matches remaining.
Saturday’s match promises to be an immense test for the Ayrshire club.