CELTIC begin their Champions League qualifying campaign this evening in Sarajevo. The Treble Treble winners have to negotiate four rounds of qualifying to reach the Group stages of the Champions League.
Neil Lennon will be determined to succeed where his predecessor Brendan Rodgers failed last time out and one of the reasons for that was the unsettling effect that dissident players like Dedryck Boyata were having on the squad.
Boyata famously refused to play in the vital match in Athens and AEK took full advantage of his absence to knock Celtic out. It was a painful night that cost the club around £30million.
There is no chance that Neil Lennon will allow that sort of disharmony to afflict The Celtic camp this time around and after this year’s want-away star threw his toys out of the pram at the weekend over in France, Neil Lennon has already spoken to The Celtic squad about his remarks and has vowed to deal with the French Under 21 star when he returns from his extended summer break.
We have covered the manager’s comments on the Ntcham situation earlier this morning on The Celtic Star – see HERE.
Olivier Ntcham is still on his summer break so would not have been involved in the Champions league anyway. It is doubtful if he will ever play for the club again, frankly the quicker he is sold the better.
The Celtic party arrived in Sarajevo last night minus several players who remained in Scotland to work on various injury issues. Jack Hendry and Maryan Shved both picked up injuries in training at Lennoxtown while Vakoun Bayo is out for a few weeks with the tight hamstring he felt over in Switzerland. Tom Rogic didn’t travel either as he struggles to find full fitness after what has been a frustrating year so far for the Australian talisman.
The £7million signing from Toulouse, Christopher Jullien is expected to be on the bench while the £3million capture from Rapid Vienna Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo is going to start at left back for his Celtic debut.
“We’ve left a few behind but the rest of the squad is fine. A couple of the new boys are a bit behind with their conditioning because they came in late,” Neil Lennon said to the media, as reported in Scottish Sun.
“But Boli did a good camp with Rapid Vienna and he looks up to speed. He will start the game.”