Celtic manager Neil Lennon has provided a strong hint as to the reason for Tom Rogic’s absence for the Clyde match on Sunday.
The Hoops took care of business in routine fashion against the Bully Wee at the weekend. Goals from Olivier Ntcham, Scott Brown, and Vakoun Bayo sealed progression to the last-eight of the Scottish Cup.
Lennon made six changes for that one, but not one of them included Rogic. That’s despite the fact that the Aussie was in real need of game-time after only playing 18 minutes against Hamilton and Motherwell in the previous two fixtures.
But speaking in comments published by the Daily Record, the Celtic boss has hinted that the plastic surface at Clyde was the main cause of his absence.
“Tom Rogic finds the plastic pitch difficult at times, but he’s back in the squad as well.”
Back in the squad but a start is extremely unlikely
Rogic falls into the bracket of first-team stars who we would love to get up to speed but is difficult to find a place for.
Lennon can’t not go with the 3-5-2 against Hearts tonight. It’s been blowing teams away with Celtic having netted 16 goals in the five games we’ve played with that system. When the 3-5-2 is played, however, it takes away the position of having a natural number 10.
Therefore, that means that Rogic’s main position will be taken by one of the three central midfielders. Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, and Olivier Ntcham are all likely to start tonight, leaving no room for Tam to come in.
Even if the number 10 position was there to be utilised, it would surely go to Ryan Christie over Rogic regardless. Christie has bagged 17 goals and 14 assists this season (Transfermarkt). He’ll surely be first in line.
Rogic not being able to play on plastic is a bit of a blow for him. He could’ve seriously used the minutes against Clyde to remind the manager and the supporters of what he’s capable of. However, his injury problems make that decision understandable.
In any case, it’s great to have Rogic back. In games like tonight against Hearts it’s ideal to have him available as an option. Hopefully he gets some game-time into his legs at some stage this evening.