Sunderland v Celtic: Three key players to watch out for ahead of Stadium of Light friendly

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.
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Simon Grayson will have one more chance to assess his side before the start of the Championship season when Sunderland host Celtic at the Stadium of Light this weekend.

The game will mark the 20th anniversary of the stadium's opening, with thousands of Celtic fans expected to make the journey for Saturday’s 3pm kick-off.

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.

Grayson is likely to hand home debuts to new signings James Vaughan and former Celtic winger Aiden McGeady.

But which opposition players will Sunderland need to keep an eye on?

Here are three Celtic players to lookout for:

Tom Rogic

Rogic scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner in the 2-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Aberdeen back in May, sealing Celtic’s treble-winning campaign.

At 24, the Australian midfielder is quickly becoming one of Rodgers’ key players at Celtic Park. Despite missing half of last season with an ankle injury, Rogic still made 22 league appearances for Celtic, chipping in with seven goals and five assists.

Rogic also featured in five of Celtic’s six Champions League games, while also establishing himself in the Australian national side.

The 6ft 2ins playmaker has the ability to run at defenders from wide and central positions, while also possessing a powerful strike from distance.

After a strong pre-season, where he scored in both of Celtic's Champions League qualifiers against Northern Irish side Lingfield F.C, Rogic will be hoping to mark another strong performance at the Stadium of Light.

Leigh Griffiths

Those who watched England’s dramatic World Cup qualifier with Scotland last month will be well aware of the 26-year-old forward.

Griffiths scored two remarkable free kicks in a frantic finale at Hampden Park, only for a late Harry Kane equaliser to draw the scores level at 2-2.

The most impressive thing about Griffiths’ brace that day was how his two free kicks, three minutes apart from one another, were struck into the opposite corners of Joe Hart’s goal.

As well as performing on the international stage, Griffiths has also been a prolific goalscorer for Celtic, scoring 64 league goals since his arrival in 2014.

Griffiths is a versatile forward who can be deployed wide, through the middle or just off a frontman.

Moussa Dembélé

The 21-year-old is one of the most sought after strikers in Europe right now, with Rodgers facing a big fight to keep the Frenchman at Celtic Park.

Dembélé only signed for the Scottish giants a year ago for a fee of just £500,000 from Fulham.

His value has soared significantly since then, with Marseille and Chelsea reportedly interested.

That is no surprise following Dembélé’s maiden season in Scotland, where he scored 32 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions.

Among the highlights was Dembélé’s brace against Manchester City in the 3-3 Champions League draw at Celtic Park last September.

Dembélé’s athleticism and sharp finishing in front of goal will be a huge asset for whichever club he ends up at next campaign.

Celtic will hope that he hangs around for at least one more season.