“Even at a difficult time, they seem to be in a pretty confident mood,” Celtic boss eyes win in Lille

Two of Celtic’s recent Covid casualties are set to be involved against French high-flyers Lille this evening in the Europa League Group H tie but the other player who recently contracted the virus has been left in Glasgow.

Odsonne Edouard and Nir Bitton travelled to France and look set to feature, although manager Neil Lennon admitted that it would be unlikely that both would start. Hatem Elhamed is back on the grass at Lennoxtown but this game has come too soon for him and he will not be involved this evening.

There could also be a quicker than expected return for goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas who missed the 3-3 draw at Aberdeen on Sunday with a shoulder problem. Christopher Jullien is still receiving treatment for his back problem in Germany and James Forrest is still unavailable as his ankle strain fails to respond to treatment. Mikey Johnston, like Elhamed is back on the grass but is nowhere near ready after a long lay-off.

As Niall J pointed out earlier in the week the best results against this fine Lille side have come from teams playing 4-3-3 against them and that hopefully is what Celtic will go with tonight. That formation can easily shift to a 4-5-1 and is also a blue-print for his we should be lining up against theRangers.

The Celtic manager accepts that Lille are a top side but is nevertheless looking to bring a point or three back to Glasgow.

“We need to get something positive to the game in order to get a foothold in the group, which is what we’ll try to do,” Lenny said as reported by the official Celtic site. “We trained well at the stadium, the boys are good the spirits are good. We’re looking forward to the game, it’s going to be a very difficult challenge and we have to play very strongly tomorrow night.

“What I’m looking for is the performance first. We’d like to win the game and maybe get something out of the game. Lille rotate their squad a little bit. They’ve had a great start to the season, which doesn’t surprise me. They’ve got real good pace and power going forward.

“I think it’s a great test for us and we had a great second half against Milan, I was happy with a lot of aspects from the weekend and we’ll be hoping to see that again tomorrow night.

“We’re starting to look stronger again and all of my focus is on this one. We’re looking forward to the game, a real tough game. The players are used to looking ahead and not looking back. We are very tight, the unity is good in the team and atmosphere has pleased me.

“Even at a difficult time, they seem to be in a pretty confident mood at the minute, which is great. We don’t want to get too far away in the group, so we really want something,” Lennon said.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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