McGregor and Christie missing, ‘The Thunder is here,’ says Lenny

CELTIC’S new assistant manager John Kennedy has confirmed that Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie will be absent tonight at Tynecastle and will also miss the second trip of the week to Edinburgh on Saturday when Celtic play Hibs in the Scottish Cup Quarter Final.

McGregor suffered a thigh strain against Valencia in the Mestalla last Thursday and missed the 4-1 win over Motherwell at the weekend, in what turned out to be Brendan Rodgers’ last match in charge of the Hoops.

Christie pulled a hamstring at the start of the second half on Sunday and is now going to miss the next few weeks.

Scott Brown returns from suspension and Kennedy, in consultation with new Celtic manager Neil Lennon, could opt to play both Old Burke and Odsonne Edouard – who both grabbed a goal when playing together at the weekend.

Either one could drop into the Number 10 role with the other leading the line.

The likely Celtic team is

Scott Bain

Jerry Toljan, Dedryck Boyata, Kris Ajer, Kieran Tierney

Scott Brown (captain), Ewan Henderson

James Forrest, Odsonne Edouard, Scotty Sinclair

Oli Burke

Meanwhile Neil Lennon has yet to decide if he’ll be in the dug-out tonight as he has to speak to his new Assistant John Kennedy who has prepared the team, after the shocked players learned of the departure of Rodgers.

Lenny confirmed that he’d be keeping the playing style much the same as it’s been over the past few years.

“I’ll keep the current style, and I don’t think it’s too different to what I do. Attacking football is the DNA of the club,” he said.

Kennedy revealed that Rodgers told HIM personally on Monday that it was likely to happen while Lennon said the first he heard of the possibility of returning to Celtic was on Monday evening when he got a phone-call, presumably from Peter Lawwell.

Lenny has yet to meet the players but has now spoken at the press conference and will be heading to the pre-match meeting with the team before travelling through to the game.

The chance to be in the dug-out tonight will be irresistible for a real Celtic man like Neil Lennon.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill, obviously, but I’m looking forward to the challenge, very much so,” Lenny said.

“I’ll be leaning on John Kennedy a lot, he knows the machinations, and I’ll be relying on John very much so.”

Lenny who said the chance to manage Celtic is ‘a once in a life-time opportunity’ realises that he is very fortunate to have been given a second chance to lead the club.

“This is a club that means a hell of a lot to me – as a player and as a manager. It’s a privilege. These opportunities come around once in a lifetime, and for me it’s come up twice.

“It’s a different challenge, different circumstances. The team has been unbelievable. I haven’t got much to time to adjust, but we need to adapt very quickly.

“I’ve mellowed since I last took over, but I’ve still got the energy and the will to win. I don’t want to be compared to Brendan. He has his way and it’s been fantastic, and I have my way. I’m always learning and that will go on.

“You dream you can always come back, you don’t believe it. It’s come sooner than I thought. The club comes first. It’s about the club and the players. They’re the most important aspect of my job at the minute.

“The thunder is here. I don’t need to bring that back. I want to bring trophies back, that will be my remit. The supporters will be feeling agitated. I understand that, and it’s up to me to try and soothe that.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who 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

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