Kilmarnock are going to be up against it this weekend when they travel to face Celtic on Saturday afternoon. It is set to be an emotional day at Parkhead, with the home side mourning the passing of club legend Billy McNeill.
The home side haven’t lost since December and Killie will have to rotate their squad for the clash. Kirk Broadfoot and Stuart Findlay will miss out through suspension. Youssouf Mulumbu will also be unavailable as Celtic are his parent club.
It’ll be a tough afternoon for the Ayrshire men, and with only one recognised centre-half available, people will be required to play out of position.
We’ve taken a stab at what the starting XI will be for Steve Clarke on Saturday.
The Starting XI
The former Chelsea coach usually opts for a 4-3-3. I think he’ll be forced into changing that, with a 4-4-2 being played to accommodate defensive suspensions.
Daniel Bachmann will line up in goals. Stephen O’Donnell and Greg Taylor will occupy the full-back positions as they have done all season. It’s in central defence where things get interesting.
Alex Bruce is the only fit centre-half, so he’s bound to start. I think the best option for Clarke is to slot Gary Dicker into centre-half. The Irishman has good physical presence and is decent in the tackle. He’s Killie’s best choice as a makeshift defender.
Chris Burke will play out on the right, with Rory McKenzie looking to continue his decent form out on the left. Alan Power should occupy his normal midfield role alongside Aaron Tshibola, who’ll come in to midfield in place of Dicker.
Up top will be Eamonn Brophy, but who plays alongside him is a tough one. I’ll stick my neck out and say Conor McAleny will partner Brophy, as he has a decent strike rate from the start and is more likely to cause Celtic problems with his footwork.
A rotated line up for Clarke, but he’ll be hoping some of his squad players can do the business against the champions.
Here’s the full XI in list form.