Kenny Dalglish predicts risky Neil Lennon Celtic decision vs Rangers; could backfire

By John McGinley

December 27, 2020

Celtic legend Kenny Dalglish expects manager Neil Lennon to pick Scott Brown for the upcoming derby against Rangers at Ibrox.

The Bhoys boss has opted to play Ismaila Soro in recent matches, to great effect.

The introduction of the Ivorian has resulted in an upturn in Celtic form.

When Brown was brought back into the team against Hearts, at Soro’s expense, it proved to be a troublesome afternoon.

There won’t be many who think that is a coincidence.

Dalglish expects the captain to be brought back in for the Ibrox clash, however.

Writing in his Sunday Post column today, he stated: “It all makes for an intriguing fixture, and one I am really looking forward to.

“I would imagine most people will have Rangers down as favourites to get the three points, but Celtic will not shy away from the challenge.

“Neil Lennon will not be scared in any shape or form by travelling across the city for a huge game.

“He needs his players to have the same mentality as him. I’m sure Scott Brown will start this game, just as he did in the Cup Final last week, where he led by example.”

This Celtic decision could backfire

Nobody doubts Brown’s leadership qualities. Over the years he’s proven himself to be a fiery, combative derby performer. His trophy county at Celtic is also remarkable.

However, Rangers have shown they are a different animal this season. We can’t rely on the successes of the past when considering how to counter them next week.

Soro has made a remarkable impact over the last few weeks. His tenacity, mobility, tackling and passing have all helped revitalise the midfield area, alongside David Turnbull and Callum McGregor.

Celtic midfielder Ismaila Soro / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Changing that up to accommodate Brown could badly backfire on Lennon.

There’s an argument for starting both the captain and Soro, but that would likely require the manager switching up what has been an effective formation of late.

I’ll be one of those hoping that the Celtic Park boss goes against Dalglish’s prediction and opts for Soro.

In other news, Conor Hazard has already been written off by the media; it will only motivate him.