Celtic return to action this afternoon as they begin their Scottish Cup defence against Highland League opponents Buckie Thistle. The visitors from Moray are expected to bring up to 5,000 for the Fourth Round tie that should on paper be a straightforward afternoon for Celtic but a hugely memorable day out for everyone connected to Buckie Thistle.
Buckie Thistle will present this beautiful gift to Celtic captain Callum McGregor ahead of today’s game and presumably Celtic will be recognising the visitors in a similar fashion.
Brendan Rodgers is unbeaten in the Scottish Cup and will be looking to regain the trophy that Ange Postecoglou won in his last game as Celtic manager last June – beating another Highland side, Inverness CT 3-1 at the Hampden final last June.
Stephen Welsh has returned from his shoulder injury sustained against theRangers and will be hoping to get involved, especially against his cousin in the Buckie Thistle team. Cameron Carter-Vickers is back from injury but won’t be risked against the Highlanders, with Rodgers indicating that Celtic’s Big Strong Man will be back next weekend. New signing Nicolas Kuhn won’t make the game as he returns from dental surgery, he too will likely be involved against Ross County next Saturday.
Meanwhile Hatate, Maeda, Oh, Yang and Tilio are all away at the Asian Cup with their respective countries.
Hart; Johnston, Nawrocki, Scales, Taylor; McGregor (c), Bernardo, O’Riley, Abada, Kyogo and Palma.
Hopefully Brendan Rodgers will have some of the B Team players on the bench and they can get some minutes in this match.
Chris Graham will referee the clash with David McGeachie and Steven Traynor running the line. Gavin Duncan will be in position as Fourth Official whilst at Clydesdale House, Steven McLean is on VAR assisted by Gary Hilland. Meanwhile the SFA’s Head of Refereeing Operations Crawford Allan is visiting the hotel that Buckie Thistle are staying at this morning to talk them through how VAR works.
Kick Off Time
The game kicks off at the rather unusual time of 4pm (Celtic Park Time) and there’s likely to be around 45k supporters inside Paradise with the visiting support sure to be vocal, so the atmosphere should be excellent.
Where to Watch
The game will be shown on Viaplay Sports with coverage starting at 3.30pm. There are still tickets available for those that have not got theirs yet and these can be purchased from the club ticket office and online. Or you could use the old fashioned approach as buy one from a supporter standing outside the ground with spare tickets raised high. That works too!