If the going wasn’t already tough enough, it’s about to get tougher for Daniel Stendel as his Hearts side take on Celtic.
The Jambos come into this game joint-bottom, with only Accies for company near the Premiership’s basement. A 1-0 defeat against relegation rivals St Johnstone in Stendel’s first game was not the needed result heading into a game against Celtic.
Hearts’ new boss will have figured out a thing or two about his side. He’ll have seen small things that will have pleased him but he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him.
Part of that process will come with a home match against the Hoops. Here’s who we think will start for Hearts.
Hearts’ starting XI
Such is the nature of Hearts goalkeeping department right now, we think Joel Pereira will come back in against Celtic. Zdenek Zlamal started against St Johnstone, but none of Hearts’ keepers have shown signs they are undisputed number ones.
Across the backline we think Stendel may opt for something different to get the best out his players. We think a three centre-back formation will be deployed, with Michael Smith, Christophe Berra and Craig Halkett all featuring in the centre.
That allows Jamie Brandon to return at right-wing-back after some impressive form whilst Aaron Hickey stays out at left-wing-back. Glenn Whelan, Oliver Bozanic and Loic Damour will take up central roles.
Up front we think Stendel will go with Aidan Keena and Steven MacLean, with the latter impressing the German against St Johnstone.
A change in formation and three changes are what we predict will happen at Tynecastle but it’ll be intriguing to see who Stendel selects after a disappointing start. Here’s our XI in list form.