Celtic injury latest: Lennon's comments on Chris Jullien don't sound great for Rangers clash

By John McGinley

December 31, 2020

Neil Lennon is refusing to rule Celtic defender Christopher Jullien in or out of the upcoming Rangers clash at Ibrox, but his update to reporters overnight wasn’t great.

The Frenchman clattered into the post in the second half, hurting his knee. He required help to come off the pitch.

Lennon gave an immediate assessment to BBC Radio Scotland after yesterday’s great 3-0 win over Dundee United.

However, comments to the written media expand on his thoughts regarding the defence heading into the match vs the league leaders.

Jullien doesn’t sound very likely to participate, reading between the lines.

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The Celtic boss told The Scottish Daily Mail: “All round, it’s been a good day, apart from losing Christopher. So we’ll need to see how he is. He’s impacted the knee on the post, it’s quite a heavy one.

“At the moment there’s a bit of swelling there, but just now I’m not ruling him out or in. It would be a big blow if Christopher was out of the Rangers game because of the way we want to play.

“We’ll have to assess him over the next couple of days. But again we’ve got Bitton, we’ve got Duffy. We’re okay in terms of cover – but Christopher’s a big game player and we’d like him fit if possible.”

Celtic derby dilemma

Lennon is unlikely to tip his hat too much on the make-up of his defensive line.

However, if there’s swelling and bruising, the 27-year-old is unlikely to recover in the small amount of time before Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.

Clearly, the manager is already mentally preparing for the use of Nir Bitton or Shane Duffy, neither of whom are ideal replacements considering the magnitude of the challenge at hand.

Chris Jullien is injured at Celtic Park / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Kristoffer Ajer may have even been utilised on the right flank instead of Jeremie Frimpong if Jullien was fit, protecting whatever central defensive duo Lennon goes with.

Defensive strength will be key at the weekend, but coming off the back of four consecutive Premiership clean sheets, the backline may just be peaking at the perfect time with or without Jullien.

In other news, Kris Boyd has handed Celtic the perfect derby motivation.