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Team News: Rodgers makes two surprises as Starfelt and Hatate miss out

Carl Starfelt and Reo Hatate are missing from the Celtic side for today’s SPFL opener at home to Ross County.

There has been recent speculation surrounding clubs interested in Starfelt which is likely to increase with today’s team selection.

New bhoy Maik Nawrocki comes in for his competitive debut, playing alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers that looks like the defensive pairing that Brendan Rodgers wants to go to Pittodrie and Ibrox with.

Hatate was badly out of touch against Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday night but had looked very sharp in the two matches in Japan.

Turnbull scored the winning goal against the La Liga outfit but is now in the final year of his four year contract with no suggestions that a new deal is being negotiated.

Apart from Nawrocki none of the four other summer signings make the Starting XI but there are three Korean’s on the bench as well as Odin Thiago Holm.

Tony Ralston has recovered from his injury to line up at right-back with Greg Taylor on the opposite side of the park.

The forward line of Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda is as expected.

On the bench Scott Bain is back-up to Joe Hart ahead of Ben Siegrist with no place for Sead Haksabanovic or Alexandro Bernabei.

CELTIC: Hart; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Nawrocki, Taylor; McGregor, Turnbull, O’Riley; Abada, Kyogo, Maeda

SUBS: Bain, Starfelt, Yang, Holm, Oh, Kwon, Tomoki, Hatate, Forrest

Last season County had to go to the very last minutes of the season to secure their Premiership place, with a penalty shoot out win over Partick Thistle after being 3-0 down in aggregate during the second leg.

It had looked like time up for County when Thistle extended their 2-0 first leg lead but the Highland side battled back to take the match to extra-time before celebrating staying up following a penalty shoot out.

So far this season County have beaten East Fife, Alloa and Dunfermline in the Viaplay Cup after starting off with an unconvincing 90 minute draw away to Buckie Thistle.

Before kick-off today James Forrest will unfurl the SPFL Premiership flag in recognition of his role in winning 11 championship medals during his remarkable career at the club he joined while still at primary school.

With just under four weeks to go in the transfer window there is bound to be further speculation about who might be arriving at Celtic.

Rodgers was expected to be busy but so far has nodded through four low key signings with Nawrocki the only arrival that looks ready to go straight into the first team picture.

Over the next four weekends Celtic have trips to Pittodrie, Rugby Park and Ibrox which will demonstrate to Rodgers exactly what he has inherited from Postecoglou- and what positions need strengthened.

Much of that may be determined by departures, after today’s match there is bound to be questions asked about Starfelt and Hatate missing out, last season whenever fit both men were fixtures in Ange Postecoglou’s side.

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