On the left Mohamed Elyounoussi will surely get more game time as he strides towards genuine match sharpness. He looked decent enough against Hamilton but really impressed me against Rennes. In the first half he was one of our very best performers and a choice of studs away from scoring from Boli’s fantastic cross.
His fitness is the only thing lacking. His ability will come to the fore more predominately when he’s up to speed physically. He’s a player we’re going to have to allow the licence to roam, at home especially we can afford him just that. At Southampton in the lower reaches of the Premier league dogfight you can see such freedom couldn’t or wouldn’t be allowed. At Celtic we’ll give him that. This lad is certainly, unequivocally and without any shadow of a doubt the real deal when afforded the licence to create. He’s your bet for first scorer today.
On the right James Forrest could also probably do with being rested but given he’s shown no signs of needing it and the fact he can and will down tools against Thistle, I’d play him against Killie. He scored the winner against Hamilton and won the penalty against Rennes. He’s on fire at the moment and if we’re resting others there’s no need at all to take a firing on all cylinders Forrest out just yet.
Ryan Christie however is a different matter. His all action style is likely to seize up than slowly fade. As such I’d put the lad on the bench for Killie and Thistle and give Tom Rogic an hour in both encounters. We can then let Ryan just tick over rather than over expose him unnecessarily. This is the ideal opportunity to let our Invernestia just cool off slightly and allow Rogic a couple of games to get an hour or so under his belt.
Up front I think we’ll stick with Edouard. He was substituted midweek and he hasn’t looked particularly weary. We may also need his guile to break down a deep lying midfield. Again I wouldn’t expect French Eddy to be near the match day squad against Partick Thistle but I’m sure we’ll play him against Killie and get him off when we’re a couple of goals to the good. Bayo and Griffiths who it appears will have recovered from his dead leg can deputise ably and both will be champing at the bit, be that late in the game tomorrow or 90 minutes on Wednesday.
Squad rotation needs to happen this season. Overuse of key players has been our Achilles heel and with a group now with reasonable depth we can utilise it fully. I’d like it taken further against Thistle in midweek but for now we need to be earmarking home games in particular to rest certain players.
Away from home we’ll need a more disciplined and experienced side. At Celtic Park we can take the chances to rotate that we missed last season. My worry for Callum McGregor in particular is that he becomes this season’s Kieran Tierney. We need to tell players when to rest, they can’t be allowed to dictate their own schedules.
The next seven days is a genuine opportunity to pull a few key players out and rest some weary legs whether they want to or not.
ALSO ON THE CELTIC STAR…
Sutton’s Savage Put Down as Larsson Edges closer to Southend Job…see HERE.
‘European smart – Exactly why I wanted Neil Lennon to get the Celtic job,’ Niall J…see HERE.
Celtic’s Jolly Green Giants – Forster praises Ajer and Jullien…see HERE.
Europa League – No chicken counting but we have good reason to be positive…see HERE.
Celtic and AIK Stockholm hit with UEFA fines…see HERE.
‘Let them scoff and jeer. Celtic will yet win to their proper position by their merits and those who scoff today will one day have to applaud,’ John Glass…see HERE.