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Weekend Premier League predictions

Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Celtic set to rest players for last Europa match

Mark Venus has confirmed Celtic are likely to field some of their fringe men in Thursday night's Europa League dead rubber at Rapid Vienna.

Neither side can qualify from Group C and the Hoops plan to rest players ahead of Sunday's Premier League trip to Hearts.

Speaking at Glasgow Airport ahead of the team's flight to Austria, assistant manager Venus said: "It's a game where some of the players who haven't played much European football might get some experience and some more games under their belts.

"You might see a few changes here, which I think should be beneficial to the younger boys. You can't keep playing the same players all the time, as other clubs have proven.

"So we've got to use some games to give some boys some experience. If there's nothing on the games then it's obviously more beneficial we play them because there's no pressure on them. We can't take any further part in this tournament so it means the game is effectively dead.''

Victory would make a marginal difference to Scottish football's plummeting co-efficient, which determines their degree of involvement in European football.

But Venus said: "I'm not sure it'll do a lot for the co-efficient to be perfectly honest. But I think we'd like, eventually, for Scottish teams to do better in the co-efficient.''

Celtic are arguably in their best form of the season, having won their last four games in all competitions.

"We've got a decent balance with the team,'' said Venus. "I think the team are performing really well and I think they got a bit of consistency in their game. The season's settled down a bit now, rather than being up and down as we started.''

A number of Celtic players have been linked with January moves away from Parkhead, a scenario Venus actually welcomes.

"We've hopefully had some interest in our footballers,'' he said. "If you play for Celtic, you're bound to have interest. I think it's healthy for the club.''

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