It looks as though Celtic manager Neil Lennon is seriously considering going with Mohamed Elyounoussi vs Cluj tomorrow night.
The Norwegian international has yet to make much of a mark at Parkhead since signing for the club over a month ago. He’s only managed three appearances so far against Hamilton Accies, Partick Thistle, and Rennes respectively. As of yet, he’s still to bag his first goal for the club.
But everyone respects the quality he can bring to the club when he’s up to speed. He came mightily close to a first Celtic goal in France just two weeks ago. However, he was rested on Saturday during our 1-1 draw at Easter Road against Hibs. Despite the fact we desperately looked for a winner, Lennon didn’t want to risk the former Molde hero.
And as he previewed the Cluj clash tomorrow night via Celtic TV, Lenny bigged up the wide man after stating that rival Mikey Johnston is a doubt.
“Mikey has trained the last couple of days but is a little bit sore. So he may be a doubt to be in the squad.
“Yes (Elyounoussi is in contention). He’ll definitely come into contention. He’s got good European pedigree and he’s really up to speed now in terms of his fitness.
“He’s had a few run-outs now and he’s looked good in training as well.”
Not a time for trying any new experiments
Elyounoussi is still just waiting for that one breakthrough performance. It looks like he could get the chance against Cluj given the lack of quality opposition ahead of him in the pecking order.
Lennon stated that Johnston was a “doubt” even to make the squad. If that’s the case, it’s even then more doubtful that he actually starts the game. With a seemingly fit and firing Elyounoussi available, he simply has to be given the chance to show what he can do.
Other rivals such as Scott Sinclair and Lewis Morgan haven’t done enough to warrant a start. Whilst the same can be said of the Norwegian, the truth is that he hasn’t had a fair crack at the whip so far. We’ve still to see him have a run of games, and his quality is undoubted considering his pedigree.
Celtic are at their best when they have three players in behind Odsonne Edouard playing in their natural positions. It’s not a match where we should be pushing either James Forrest or Ryan Christie out on the left.
Jonny Hayes is another face to add to the mix after coming on against Hibs. He’s also a natural left-mid, but his role in the squad seems to be, unofficially of course, as a back-up player.
Going by Lennon’s comments, it seems clear that he’s favouring Elyounoussi over others for tomorrow night. Then again, given how unpredictable our manager can be when it comes to his selections, there’s always room for doubt.