Nakamura in line for debut
Saturday 06 August 2005
At Parkhead all eyes will be on Shinsuke Nakamura, Celtic's new Japan international, who is expected to make his debut against Dundee United after his £2.2m move from Reggina.
Celtic's new manager, Gordon Strachan, wants to build a new-look side around the 27-year-old playmaker and has also given a trial to the 23-year-old captain of China, the defender Du Wei.
Rangers, who travel to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, could give a first start to the centre-half Julien Rodriguez. The 27-year-old Frenchman completed his £1.1m move from Monaco on Thursday evening. Alex McLeish, the Rangers manager, is expected to blood his new player ahead of the Champions' League third qualifying round tie against Anorthosis Famagusta in Cyprus next Tuesday.
Rodriguez, a Champions' League finalist in 2004 for Monaco, believes Rangers could make an equally surprising impact in Europe.
The Edinburgh derby should give a measure of which capital side are likely to be better placed in the SPL this season. Hibernian, in Mowbray's first season, finished as third-placed "runners-up" to Rangers and Celtic in May. Hearts were 11 points behind them in fifth place.
The opening matches last weekend showed signs that Burley's Hearts are back in the ascendancy. They won 4-2 at Kilmarnock while Hibs were held 1-1 at home by Dunfermline. And with five new signings (all foreign, including three strikers) to Hibs' two - the Polish goalkeeper Zbigniew Malkowski and Scotland's Michael Stewart, from Hearts, which adds spice to tomorrow - resources are in Burley's favour.
Mowbray, who worked under Burley as a player and coach for nine years at Ipswich Town, hopes his young, mostly local team will at least have the edge in cohesion. "You can have lots of quality players but you have to gel them together," he said.
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