First Celtic start for Iwata as Hatate and Mooy miss Ross County clash

Celtic are looking to re-establish their nine-point advantage over Rangers.

First Celtic start for Iwata as Hatate and Mooy miss Ross County clash SNS Group

Tomoki Iwata has been handed his first Celtic start for Sunday’s game against Ross County at Dingwall as the Hoops look to re-establish their nine-point league advantage.

Usual starters Reo Hatate and Aaron Mooy are both missing from the squad but Daizen Maeda returns after suffering an injury scare on international duty.

Joe Hart starts in goals behind the usual back-four of Johnston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt and Taylor.

Callum McGregor returns from Scotland heroics to captain the side in a midfield three with Iwata and Matt O’Riley.

Top scorer Kyogo Furuhashi leads the line with Jota and Maeda at either side of him.

Rangers cut the gap at the top of the table to six points with their 2-0 win over Dundee United at Ibrox on Saturday.

But Celtic won’t want to waste anytime in retaining the nine-point lead against the second bottom club in Sunday’s 12pm kick-off with next week’s Glasgow derby on the horizon.

Iwata was signed from Ange Postecoglou’s former club Yokohama Marinos in January.

At the bottom of the table, County will be looking to increase their four point lead over 12th placed Dundee United and cut the gap to tenth placed Kilmarnock.

Dylan Smith starts in place of Keith Watson for Malky Mackay’s men with David Cancola replacing Josh Sims.

They start with Laidlaw in goals behind Randall, Cancola, Iacovitti, Loturi, Harmon, White, Edwards, Smith, Kenneh and Brophy.