A 3-0 win? A clean sheet? Monsieur Lennon, with this Celtic display, you are really spoiling us (BBC).
There was the obvious stuff: Griff and Eddy scoring, nobody getting injured for the Rangers game, not conceding. Those things are good, yes, but there was another thing for Celtic supporters to enjoy.
That ‘thing’ was the likes of Mikey Johnstone and Patryk Klimala building fitness for the Bhoys. Lennon is finally using the breadth of his squad, and it’s great to see.
Let’s have a look at the squad regulars and youngsters who got onto the slick New Douglas Park surface today.
Celtic’s Greg Taylor stakes a claim once more
It was good to see Greg Taylor on the left hand side of Celtic’s defence. In a system where the full-backs are less relied upon for attacking thrust, Taylor was tidy and effective.
He only needed to make tackles and move the ball forwards, and he did that well. Providing competition for Uruguayan international Diego Laxalt, the young Scot was accomplished in his role. He provided support for Callum McGregor in wider positions, and was an outlet ball for Kristoffer Ajer.
Shout outs too to Nir Bitton. Despite the Israeli’s early yellow card, Bitton looked comfortable all game. Winning possession 11 times and beating his man in the air on 7 occasions, he did everything he needed to (WhoScored?). That yellow, by the way, was very harsh.
Ajeti and Klimala are fit for Celtic
Albian Ajeti has had a weird old time of it in a Celtic shirt. A serious splash for the Bhoys at £5m, he was initially a goal threat, but fizzled out as quickly as he burnt brightly.
My brilliant colleague David Walton is tipping him for a 2021 renaissance, and that starts with the less glamorous stuff. In this case, it was coming on late in a rainy, windy game in South Lanarkshire.
Introduced in the 72nd minute to replace Leigh Griffiths, his directness gave Celtic a different option. He couldn’t get on the scoresheet but his effort was good, and he’ll be looking to build on his short appearance.
Without a proper pre-season under his belt, nor a full 90 minutes in months, Ajeti needs more opportunities. That may require us to wrap up games earlier than we have done, and if Ajeti can take advantage of short cameos for Celtic, he’ll be able to cement a more integral role.
Patryk Klimala was introduced shortly after, as he and Ajeti played out the last 10 minutes together. It’s encouraging to see Lennon being able to use his squad options, because it means we’ve won a game convincingly.
Mikey Johnstone gets on the pitch again
Perhaps most encouragingly, young winger Mikey Johnstone saw action again for Celtic.
Our most traditional winger, Johnstone provides Celtic with real options in the side. Although the future for Lenny will likely involve a midfield diamond, the winger still has a role to play.
He could operate on the left of a diamond, but most realistically, he’ll be vital when Lennon needs to adapt his side’s shape to opposition.
There are times where an attacking three might be needed, and Johnstone would shine in that role. His dribbling, fearlessness and technical ability are real attributes, and we can’t wait to see him get more time on the pitch.