Celtic boss has a left-back decision to make for Hampden clash

By John Reid

December 6, 2019

Celtic boss Neil Lennon revealed some positive fitness news ahead of Sunday’s Betfred Cup Final against Rangers – but now he has a defensive dilemma on his hands.

The Hoops boss confirmed, as reported by STV reporter Ryan Maher on Twitter, that both Boli Bolingoli and Jonny Hayes are fit and available for selection.

https://twitter.com/RyanMaherSTV/status/1202962392700858369

That is great news, as neither player has featured for the Hoops recently, Bolingoli has been out of action for a month, and Hayes missed the last few games. Greg Taylor deputised at left-back. However, he is cup-tied for the final.

Thankfully, the Hoops’ left-back problem has been solved, but it leaves Neil Lennon with a decision to make. Which one of the duo, Hayes or Bolingoli, will get the nod to start?

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Odds just about favour player who was first-choice

(Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The odds just about favour Bolingoli. The reason for that is that he was the first-choice left-back until he suffered a hamstring injury in the 5-2 Betfred Cup semi-final win over Hibs. He had also overcome an indifferent start to his Hoops career to become a mainstay in the side.

Hayes might not have got his chance for the Hoops if Bolingoli hadn’t got injured. To be fair, Hayes did very well in his apperances at left-back. He was especially good in the 2-1 win over Lazio in Rome.

However, Bolingoli seems to have the manager’s trust. He has done very well to come back from not being selected in the 4-3 Champions League loss to Cluj.

Excelled in victory over Ibrox men

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Another factor to take into account was how well Bolingoli played in Celtic’s 2-0 win over Rangers at Ibrox in September.

He was solid in defence, and was part of a Celtic side which gave Rangers very few chances. Bearing that in mind, then Bolingoli should get the nod to start in the cup final. Hopefully he is able to repeat his Ibrox performance at Hampden Park.