Neil Lennon kept things as they were when he took over from Brendan Rodgers a year ago. However, the Irishman did hint that he would tweak things over time and felt that Celtic should look to get the ball forward quicker. When given the job on a permanent basis, the manager got to work and began to implement his own style.
One of the major changes from the Brendan Rodgers era was bringing Fraser Forster back to the club. Rodgers had tried to get his goalkeepers to play out from the back, which saw Scott Bain eventually preferred to Craig Gordon. In Forster, Lennon has gone with a no nonsense keeper and a stunning shot stopper. He doesn’t put the same pressure or impetus in playing out from the box, rather the keeper has more freedom to choose when it is appropriate.
Another big change is going with two up front since Leigh Griffiths has shown suitable fitness. This has given Celtic a new lease of life since the break and the below tweet by Chris Sutton, shows how big an impact he thinks the new striking partnership has made.
Griffiths and Edouard partnership the difference so far since the break…
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) February 23, 2020
The overall intent of the team has been more direct and exciting, as opposed the latter stages of Brendan Rodgers’ reign, which although effective, was becoming stale. The shift from a heavily possession based game to attacking with purpose, getting more balls into the box and not asking the goalkeeper to play out from the back at all costs, has seen a sharp rise in Celtic’s goalscoring fortunes.
In the 2017/18 Scottish Premiership season, Celtic averaged 2.58 goals per game. Last season the Hoops averaged 2.55, but astonishingly, Neil Lennon’s new look Celtic side is currently averaging 3.54 goals per game in the SPFL!
The results have been equally impressive, with Celtic having the opportunity to match the 106 points tally of the Invincibles season (2016/17) if they win their remaining ten matches.
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