Michael Stewart outlines crucial step Celtic need to take to live up to 'big club' billing

By John McGinley

December 12, 2020

Michael Stewart has called on Neil Lennon to field a starting eleven never seen before at Celtic, writing in his regular Scottish Sun column.

The BBC Sport and Celtic TV pundit has had plenty to say about the Bhoys term, with his opinion often respected by supporters.

He hasn’t missed the failings of the team at times, so when he sees cause for optimism, he is worth listening to.

Ahead of Celtic’s test at home to Kilmarnock tomorrow, he has now called on Lennon to hand starts to Conor Hazard, Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull, while bringing stars such as Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard back into the fold.

Stewart also believes an overdue call on Scott Brown is needed if Celtic are going to live up to ‘big club’ billing.

Writing in his Scottish Sun column, he said: “The default position at Celtic for long enough has been that, if Brown is fit, he plays. But with that side, Lennon can look at the fixture list and pick the games he is going to play in.

“Now, Brown might not like that to begin with, but that’s how you move forward as a big club. I go back to United and what Sir Alex did with Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes late in their careers.

“Giggs ended up playing one game in five and was able to have an impact on games at nearly 40. I’m not suggesting that’ll happen with Brown, but it makes sense to reduce his workload.

“In the meantime, Celtic can feed off Soro’s energy, which made a big difference against Lille.”

It’s an interesting take and I’m pretty sure Stewart would find plenty of Celtic supporters who agree with him.

Scott Brown spending a bit of time on the bench doesn’t need to spark as drastic a narrative as ‘his career is finished’, it’s simply the manager using his squad in the most efficient and constructive way.

Celtic youngster Ewan Henderson alongside Scott Brown / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

The fact is we don’t need the skipper in the vast majority of our Scottish Premiership matches, especially against teams that will sit in and defend.

Our midfield unquestionably looked more mobile and dynamic in the opposition half on Thursday night. Lennon has to go with that shape and lineup tomorrow against Kilmarnock.