Celtic boss Neil Lennon’s comments in the Celtic View this week are the biggest hint yet that he’s ready to unleash Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths at Ibrox.
Both strikers have been in sensational form since the winter break. Edouard has 10 goals to his name (Transfermarkt), whilst Griffiths’ renaissance has seen him bag eight in 13 appearances (Transfermarkt). Therefore, 18 goals since the break have come from those two alone – an incredible stat in its own right.
However, in both matches against Copenhagen in the Europa League – the best side we’ve come up against since the winter break – Lennon has made the move to drop Griffiths. It had an effect on our goalscoring too as we only bagged two goals in the tie overall.
Yet the Celtic View has described Lennon as being “excited” by the duo’s form. And in an interview with the club’s publication (11/03, page 06), the Celtic boss certainly sounded like it:
“They’re doing very well together and scoring a lot of goals. We’re scoring a good volume of goals and a lot of it comes through those two. They’re both bona fide centre-forwards and Odsonne’s goal ratio this season has been terrific. I’m pleased for him getting his goal (vs St Mirren) as well and we could have had a few more.
“I’m delighted for Leigh, and he looked more like his old self. The third goal summed up Leigh Griffiths – a quick turn and smashes it in the corner. We’ve not seen that from him in a while.
“The second goal was brilliantly worked and the first goal gave him a lot of confidence so he can be really happy his day’s work.”
Comments can’t be followed up with either man being dropped
Lennon has made it out here as though both men put on a perfect showing against St Mirren. He isn’t wrong either. Neither could’ve done much more.
We all know that Edouard will start at Ibrox. That’s never been in question. It’s all about whether the Celtic manager will finally put his trust in Griffiths for a high-profile game.
Make no mistake, the Copenhagen tie was a clear sign that Lennon wasn’t ready to throw Griffiths in from the start for whatever reason. Whether it was because he wanted more protection at the back, or whether he didn’t trust Griff to make an impact from the start, we’ll never know.
But he’s spoken about how both are thriving with each other and that the goals are coming primarily from both players. It would, therefore, feel totally bizarre if he was to then drop Griffiths after singing about what he brings to the team.
This game on Sunday is all about how the manager views Rangers. Does he see them as our equal and a team who’s threats must be respected to the extent that we can’t go gung-ho? Or does he see the clear frailties in this Ibrox team as something that can be pounced upon with two strikers.
Considering how nervy and poor their backline has been all season – Lennon must show some confidence in both of his main men to partner each other. And judging by his Celtic View comments, there’s no reason for him not to.
What message would it send to Griffiths if he was dropped for the Ibrox game? Surely he’s more than merited his place since the winter break? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion forum below.