Thursday nights’ ‘dead rubber’ match against French side Lille is next on the agenda for beleaguered Celtic and Neil Lennon. The first match between the two sides was an eventful 2-2 draw in France, with a first half double from Moi Elyonoussi giving Celtic a great chance to win the game. When Scott Bain saved a penalty near halftime we all thought that this could be our night. Sadly, we couldn’t hang on and in the end the final score was accepted as a decent result away from home – which it was.
The abject performances against Sparta Prague have decimated the teams’ chances of qualification, followed by the final nail in the coffin last week with the 4-2 defeat in Milan.
With such attention on the club at the moment, amid fan protests and the like, the question to be asked is – do we care about this game? Even typing these words makes me cringe a bit, and although I try to be positive about every game Celtic play, I just can’t find myself feeling in any way excited about this match. Lille have already qualified, Celtic are out, so there is not much left to play for except maybe the French side trying to finish top of the group if they win.
We have to think about what a good chance this is, however, to blood some fringe players. David Turnbull, Ismaila Soro, Greg Taylor, Patryck Klimala, Mikey Johnston, could all benefit from some time on the pitch against good opposition.
Surely a good barometer of how clear Neil Lennon is thinking is what team he picks. If the usual suspects are trotted out – Brown, McGregor, Ajer – what are we going to gain from seeing them again?
Ryan Christie is definitely going to sit this one out as he’s suspended after picking up yet another yellow card in the San Siro last week.
We have a big squad, we spent good money on these fringe players – almost £10 million on the five I mentioned – so we have to start seeing them play don’t we?
The Premiership game on Sunday against Kilmarnock is again another huge match for the club. We have to remember that there are 24 games left, a possible 72 points, and if there is any chance of pulling this out of the fire then starting off with three points against Alex Dyer’s side is the absolute minimum required.
As for tomorrow night’s Europa League match against Lille? Please give youth a chance Neil!