Football: Neil Lennon will welcome his big guns back for what is expected to be a stern test against Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 encounter at a sold-out Celtic Park tomorrow night.
The Hoops boss fielded many of his fringe players in a comfortable 3-1 away win over Inverness at the weekend, while resting mainstays Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama, Scott Brown, Joe Ledley and Charlie Mulgrew.
Fraser Forster should continue in goal against the Serie A leaders, having recovered from a neck injury to make his first appearance since January 2 against Caley Thistle.
Lennon was also happy to see midfielder Kris Commons get a further 45 minutes under his belt in the Highlands and described him as someone who will “have an important role to play on Tuesday night.”
The Celtic manager will have to wait to see whether the “pivotal” Georgios Samaras has recovered from a hamstring strain. James Forrest, who has had a similar complaint, is likely to see action at some stage after coming through two scans.
The Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose is expected to start on the bench having been due to fly back to Scotland from South Africa tonight after a successful appearance in the final of the African Cup of Nations on Sunday evening.
Celtic are bidding to reach the quarter finals of Europe’s leading tournament for the first time in more than 30 years. Juventus will be considered favourites to progress by many neutrals and fans in Italy certainly believe they can win the competition outright.
However the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon, who tend to line up in a rigid 3-5-2 formation, are also well aware of Celtic’s formidable home record. Midfielder Arturo Vidal said the Hoops’ “main strength” lay in being what he called “a warrior team.”
Though noted for a tight defence which conceded few goals Juve, who arrived in Glasgow having recorded a 2-0 win over Fiorentina, also have plenty of firepower at their disposal having scored in each of their last 15 matches.
The main danger man in attack will be Alessandro Matri, who has five strikes in his last nine appearances for the Old Lady.
Montenegro international Mirko Vucinic is fit after recovering from a knee problem, but Paolo de Ceglie is out with a thigh injury.