The overlooked Neil Lennon comments that hint at an exciting Celtic lineup again on Sunday

By John McGinley

December 12, 2020

Neil Lennon’s post-match press conference after the Lille victory was the last time we heard publicly from the Celtic manager.

The club uploaded it to the official YouTube channel yesterday, giving fans the chance to listen to what he had to say in entirety, rather than through the wider media, websites and newspapers.

You always get snippets of information you may otherwise have missed.

Tonight I went back to listen, to try and figure out if there was anything that would tip the manager’s hat towards his team selection against Kilmarnock tomorrow.

Yes, that’s how I spend my Saturday nights, so you don’t have to.

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The manager was very excited about the fringe players he brought into the team, which suggests to me we may well see players such as Ismaila Soro, David Turnbull and Conor Hazard in the lineup again on Sunday.

Asked about what he thought the difference was between Thursday’s display and other games in recent weeks, the manager reflected: “There were a lot of positives to take from it, players coming in, Soro and Turnbull had great games, Klimala, young Henderson played really well. There was just a nice vibe about it.”

Then, questioned whether Soro, Turnbull and Hazard had proven themselves to warrant more game time, Lennon said: “They have done well enough to merit a place in the team, as have some of the others.”

The manager would then expand on the former Motherwell man, in particular, stating: “It takes a bit of time to bed in and get used to the style and the training methods we have with the other players. Then he had a month out with Covid.

“I was really pleased with his contribution on Sunday (vs St Johnstone) and he had a very, very good game on Thursday, we’re all delighted for him. Hopefully, that is the first goal of many.”

He would later say in his press conference when asked if pressure had been put on his regulars: “Players are ready to play and want to play, it gives me food for thought obviously for Sunday as well.”

David Turnbull celebrates scoring for Celtic / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

No outright declaration of who will start and who won’t against Killie then, but certainly an interesting set of comments.

We’ve written a lot on the site today about what kind of team Lennon will go with. It seems so important given the freshness of the performance on Thursday.

In truth, any selection he goes for on Sunday should have enough about them to see off the Ayrshire side on our own patch.

Wouldn’t it just be fantastic to see players like Turnbull given a bit of faith again though?