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Preview: Celtic vs. Queen's Park - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Celtic vs. Queen's Park - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's friendly clash between Celtic and Queen's Park, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Aiming to record the first win of their pre-season schedule, Queen's Park will roll out the red carpet for Scottish Premiership holders Celtic at The city Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Spiders only narrowly avoided relegation to the third tier of Scotland last term, whilst the Bhoys beat arch rivals Rangers to the top-tier crown.

Match preview

For the second time in the space of a week, Scottish champions Celtic will pit their wits against second-tier opposition on Wednesday night following a share of the honours against Ayr United at Somerset Park on Friday, when the hosts fought back to restore parity in the contest.

Looking to stake his place in the Bhoys' attacking line amid links to a permanent deal for Norwich City striker Adam Idah, Kyogo Furuhashi found the net for the Hoops from the penalty spot in the first half, but Ayr managed to level the scores, with Anton Dowds also holding his nerve from 12 yards out.

Brendan Rodgers's side will face the challenge of Queen's Park at The city Stadium on Wednesday night before making the trip to the United States for the glamorous part of their pre-season itinerary, facing MLS outfit DC United, Manchester City and Chelsea before the season opener versus Kilmarnock on August 4.

The Bhoys are yet to make any signings during the summer window as they plan on being patient in their dealings, with the Glasgow-based club looking to win a fourth straight Premiership title for the second time this century.

Considering the relative league placements of the two sides, it is not a surprise that the most recent meeting between Queen's Park and Celtic was all the way back in February 2008, when the Bhoys recorded a 2-1 home win over the visiting Spiders in the Scottish League Cup.

Following a highly-respectable third-placed finish during the 2022-23 campaign, the mission for Queen's Park was to challenge once again for a Premiership spot last season, but a woeful spell of form - particularly towards the end of 2023 - meant that they were fighting another battle instead.

In the end, a heroic return of seven points from their last three Championship matches of the season, including maximum points from a 5-0 thumping of Arbroath, ensured that the Spiders retained their second-tier status for a third straight season, a considerable achievement for a club who were plying their trade in League Two as recently as 2021.

Following a gruelling 36-game schedule, Queen's Park finished eighth in the Championship standings, just a single point ahead of ninth-placed Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who suffered relegation to League One after a two-legged playoff defeat to Hamilton Academical in May.

Callum Davidson's troops commenced their pre-season schedule last Tuesday with a goalless draw at the home of East Fife, meaning that a victory over Celtic appears unlikely, although the Spiders will be relishing the challenge against the Premiership holders nevertheless.

Finding the net on 17 occasions for the Spiders last season in the Championship from 36 appearances, Ruari Paton is the jewel in the Queen's Park crown and will be hoping to produce a statement performance versus the Bhoys on Wednesday night.

Celtic friendly form:

Queen's Park friendly form:
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Team News

Reaching the semi-finals of the Copa America with Canada, right-back Alistair Johnston remains on international duty in the United States as his country battle for glory.

After starting on the bench during the draw at Ayr last week, Bosun Lawal will be hoping to earn a place in the Bhoys' XI on Wednesday night at The city Stadium.

Following 26 competitive appearances and two goals for Queen's Park, midfielder Aaron Healy has departed the club and therefore misses the chance to test his abilities against the Premiership winners.

Signing from Hull City earlier in the month, Josh Hinds could make his debut for the Spiders against the Scottish champions, with the 21-year-old spending the closing stages of last season on loan at Truro City in England's National League South.

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Bain; Dede, Welsh, Nawrocki, Kobayashi; Tomoki, Ure, Holm, Kuhn, Lawal; Kyogo

Queen's Park possible starting lineup:
Ferrie; Mauchin, J Scott, Reid, Fox; Turner, Connolly, Thomas, T Scott; Paton, McCormick

We say: Celtic 2-0 Queen's Park

Queen's Park kept a clean sheet against East Fife last time out, but the chances of the Spiders repeating the trick against the Scottish champions are extremely slim.

Celtic's fringe players will have another opportunity to impress before the squad fly out to the United States, and we feel that the Bhoys will be good enough to earn victory at The city Stadium.

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