ALL eyes will be on the rematch battle at the Tony Macaroni Arena tomorrow night between the Frenchman Christopher Jullien and his Australian rival Lyndon Dykes who walked away with the plaudits and the three points the last time these two went toe-to-toe in West Lothian at the start of October 2019.
Christopher Jullien seemed to get emotional that day, it was a rather strange thing to witness but as Neil Lennon pointed out yesterday, it was the making of the former Toulouse man who arrived in July for a £7million transfer fee (overlooked by former Celtic winger Davie Provan in his newspaper column at the weekend where he said Lennon could only dream of spending £7million on a player, like Steven Gerrard did with Ryan Kent).
Maybe Celtic spending £7million on a player doesn’t count, in Davie’s eyes?
Celtic did extract a form or revenge in December with a comfortable 4-0 win over Livingston at Celtic Park but the second visit to the Tony Macaroni Arena, with it’s infamously poor plastic pitch (regarded as the worst of the three in the Scottish Premiership) will give Dykes & Co the chance to go for a home double against the Scottish Champions.
And it is also perhaps the last disparate straw being clutched by that Ibrox mob that celebrated winning the league at Celtic Park back on 29 December. They had Celtic for toast and the rest were all ‘Diddy teams’ so what possibly could go wrong?
Neil Lennon referred to this Jullien v Dykes heavyweight contest yesterday when he addressed the Media, as reported by FourFourTwo.
“He played really well in the home game against Livingston a few months later,” Lennon said of Jullien. “I think he has got accustomed to the British game.
“Look, we are under no illusions, it’s going to be a battle and we have to earn the right to play.
“Everyone talks about the pitch, we have played on many artificial pitches this season.
“We are going to have to roll our sleeves up and do the dirty side of the game well.”
Livingston are aiming for an eighth consecutive home win.
“It’s a tough game. There is no question. Their home form is excellent and they are a big, strong team. They can play three at the back or four at the back. We are under no illusions how difficult it is going to be. It’s going to be a very tough game and not for the faint-hearted.
“They can be direct, they have good energy, they are a threat at set-plays and they do it very well. We have to overcome that and match whatever they throw at us, and then better it.
“We have got to be at our best and focused and concentrated, and we have to be physically strong as well.”
Kris Ajer is a doubt as is Callum McGregor who got hit on the arm by a thunderous Nir Bitton clearance at Perth on Sunday and Jozo Simunovic – who was missing from the squad in the Scottish Cup win over St Johnstone, is unlikely to feature on that plastic surface.
Elhamed was on the bench at Perth and could be in line for a starting slot as Neil Lennon weighs up his options and looks to play the ‘strongest’ team possible. It might not be a game for wingers.
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