Celtic boss Neil Lennon reveals positive injury news after Hamilton success

By David Walton

February 2, 2020

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has provided supporters with some fresh injury news after taking the club seven points clear at the top of the Premiership.

The Hoops’ 4-1 win against Hamilton at the Fountain of Youth Stadium had its nervy moments. However, titles aren’t lost due to nervy moments, they’re lost when you don’t ultimately get the job done. That’s not something you can label at this Celtic side today.

The win also marked a debut for young Stephen Welsh, who was playing due to the fact that Jozo Simunovic was sidelined. Mohamed Elyounoussi also missed out, whilst Ryan Christie only made his first appearance since the return from the winter break in a brief cameo.

Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Speaking after the match, Lennon provided positive news regarding all three.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries – people overlook that. We took Simunovic out and I thought young Welsh for his debut was absolutely excellent. He was faultless really so that’s given me food for thought.

“Hopefully we’ll have Jozo back for Wednesday (away to Motherwell). Christie’s up to speed, and Elyounoussi’s not far away as well now.”

Welsh couldn’t have dreamt for a better start

Injuries and a lack of cover meant that the responsibility of being the right-sided defender in our back three today went to Welsh. And when he went to bed last night he likely couldn’t have dreamt of a better debut.

Sure, he didn’t manage to make himself the hero with any last-minute wonder-goal winners. He did something just as important, however, by limiting Hamilton and ensuring that Fraser Forster’s work was minimised.

In fact, there’s even a case to say that Welsh was the most competent centre-back of the three today. Christopher Jullien struggled for long spells with Hamilton’s Marios Ogkmpoe. He was at fault for the opener, whilst Kristoffer Ajer produced a howler to give Ogkmpoe a chance earlier.

Celtic youngster Stephen Welsh (Lukasz Sobala/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)

Welsh, however, had a standout moment himself in the first 45. With David Moyo looking like racing through on the Celtic goal, the debutant tracked back superbly to perform a fine overhead clearance. He joins Scott Robertson in making an impressive debut for the club in recent months.

But knowing that Simunovic will be back is a further boost. If he had been out for any longer then it would’ve been a lot of responsibility on Welsh to continue playing him weekly. He did himself no harm today, but having Simunovic’s experience is ideal.

With Christie also now considered to be up to speed and Elyounoussi hopefully closing in on a return, it’s a nice boost to our squad options as we kick off a massive month.