It was a poor start to the new City of Glasgow Cup format for the Celtic Colts yesterday.
The Hoops were downed 3-1 at Broadwood Stadium last night in their first of eight matches in the competition. The tournament takes on a fresh look with a new league-style format and three senior teams brought into the mix.
But, perhaps the most interesting rule of them all was the fact that two over-age players could feature for their respective colt sides. We questioned yesterday whether that could’ve allowed Vakoun Issouf Bayo, Marian Shved, Eboue Kouassi, or Jack Hendry game-time.
Unfortunately, however, Celtic didn’t choose to even take up that option. Instead, everyone in the starting XI, as well as the subs, were under the 21-years-old bracket.
And it’s fair to say the youngsters suffered for it. It wasn’t a great result against the senior boys of Clyde. Ewan Henderson’s penalty came after Ally Love and Craig Howie had given the hosts a 2-0 advantage. Stephen Welsh’s unfortunate own goal sealed the points for the Cumbernauld-based outfit.
So why no City of Glasgow Cup outing for the senior Bhoys?
You can see the thinking behind Celtic’s selection here. Sticking with the youngsters is a great boost for them, and it allows all of the players in the starting XI to experience senior football. That wouldn’t have been the case had any senior players taken two of the youngsters’ places in the team.
But at the same time, we have to start getting the likes of Bayo, Kouassi, and Shved some game-time somewhere. The Glasgow Cup has turned into just the right competition to do that. It would allow supporters and Neil Lennon to see just where some of his fringe stars are at.
Bayo, for example, hasn’t played a full 90 minutes since joining back in January. Heck, he’s not even played a full 15 minutes. We’ve only seen him on two competitive occasions, and could do with finding a bit more about him.
Of course, Lenny could’ve perhaps viewed the game on Thursday as being too close to last night’s game. Both Bayo and Shved may need to be used there if anything happens to James Forrest or Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths.
However, it’s still a bit of a disappointment not to see a fringe player or two make an appearance last night.
Celtic reserves’ next game will come against Dundee in the Reserve Cup on Monday night. The contest takes place at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park. Hopefully, our young guns can bounce back from the recent Clyde and Falkirk disappointments.