Celtic interim manager John Kennedy went into detail on why Patryk Klimala was selected for today’s Scottish Premiership match at home v Aberdeen.
Klimala hasn’t made a start since December and hasn’t started in the league since way back in October.
He was a surprise selection when today’s team was announced.
Albian Ajeti and Leigh Griffiths have been the go-to strikers recently when deploying a two-man attack.
For Kennedy, Klimala is now ready for his big Celtic opportunity after progress over the last year.
The temporary boss told BBC Sportsound pre-match (14:06): “We bring Patryk into the fold. Patryk is one who has not played a lot of minutes, not had a lot of game time. Over the last year he has progressed and he’s now at a point that I think he’s ready to go.
“It’s one thing with the team at times this year, looking and reflecting on it, we’ve lacked pace and speed at the top end to stretch the opposition and ask the question in behind sometimes.
“We’ve got a lot of technical players and those who like to come and play, Patryk will give us something different in that respect. We’ve done a lot of work with him, in terms of what we expect from him, without putting too much pressure on him.
“Having that intent and intensity to run beyond, if Aberdeen come aggressive, we know they will be man-to-man and leave space behind.”
So far, Klimala hasn’t had much impact on the game, but Celtic have looked pretty dangerous in attack. The Polish striker did fluff one good chance from a threatening Jonjoe Kenny cross, but couldn’t stick it away.
He’ll be hoping to have more influence after the interval.
John Kennedy spoke to Neil Lennon before Celtic match
Kennedy was also quizzed by the BBC on the week that was and how he’s transitioned into becoming the man in charge.
Clearly, it’s been an emotional time for all involved, but the former defender is still on good terms with Neil Lennon.
Asked if he’d been in touch this morning, Kennedy said: “Yeah, I spoke to him this morning, he wished everyone well. Still, to this day, I’ve got a close relationship with Neil. I was very gutted when it happened at the beginning of the week, but him and I both understand there’s a job to be done and we’re professional with that.”
Nobody will want to see Celtic do well for the rest of this season more than Lennon. No doubt he had plenty of encouragement for Kennedy this morning.
Can the Celtic players show they are better than what we’ve seen throughout this term?