Patryk Klimala netted his first goal for the Celtic reserves yesterday in a positive Reserve Cup outing against Hibs, and Neil Lennon should keep him there for now.
The Pole, signed from Jagiellonia Bialystok for £3.5million in January (Scottish Sun), is only just new into the country. He’s made two appearances for Celtic, both in the Scottish Cup, and has already bagged his first assist for the club against Clyde.
However, the form of Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard means that opportunities for him will be limited between now and the end of the season. Being in and around first-team training will continue to be ideal as he gets up to speed with Scottish football as quickly as possible too.
But Lennon should also insist that he continues to play for the reserves whenever the opportunity arises.
In recent weeks, the Celtic second-string have taken on a series of challenge matches against the likes of Chelsea, Middlesbrough, and Huddersfield Town respectively. They’re also still competing in the City of Glasgow Cup and the Reserve Cup too.
A confidence-building exercise
Keeping Klimala in and about the reserve squad for games such as these could do his confidence a power of good ahead of the summer. It allows him to get minutes into his legs, goals under his belt, and a boost in morale.
It looked as though he may have been used during the run-in. However, Celtic have played an incredible 11 games over the last month alone and he’s barely featured. He’s still to make a debut in the Scottish Premiership which highlights how well Edouard and Griffiths are playing.
Therefore, Lennon clearly feels that he’s happy with the current front two, as he should be. Vakoun Bayo, meanwhile, scored against Clyde and has had a couple of decent cameos recently. He’s also deserving of some minutes when the opportunity arises. Given he’s been on the bench slightly more than Klimala recently, it’s perhaps fair to say he’s third choice for now.
Yes, Klimala cost a fair bit of money, but that’s not his fault. It may be controversial to push him to the reserves given the fee, but we have to be realistic. We have to look at the bigger picture regarding both our own goals and his development. Giving him some reserve action could keep him ticking along nicely ahead of the new season if he isn’t going to be used much in the run-in.
His goal against Hibs yesterday was a great moment for him. It was brilliant to see him off the mark for the second string, and hopefully it proves to be a first of many. The more goals he gets in reserve action, the more he’ll likely settle and start becoming more comfortable.
If Celtic wrap up the league early, it would also be great to put Klimala in for some of the remaining fixtures knowing that he’s been playing regularly for the reserves. It would stand him in good stead. And with no real expectation on him in the coming weeks, this seems like a sensible move.