Should Celtic play loan-stars from the start on Saturday?

By David Walton

January 16, 2019

Celtic’s new six-month loan stars are available and ready to play against Airdrieonians on Saturday, so should they?

In our predicted XI piece this week, we predicted neither of Timothy Weah or Oliver Burke would start the match. Both are in just until the end of the season, with permanent deals for either extremely unlikely.

Our argument was on the basis that James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard don’t deserve to be dropped. They currently have the jerseys and have been in good form this season. Edouard has 14 strikes to his name this term, with Forrest on 16 for club and country respectively.

Odsonne Edouard is in good form and deserves to keep his place (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Since then, many supporters have been itching for both to start on social media. The idea being that they’re only here for six months and therefore we need all of our use out of them.

It’s a fair argument, and one Brendan Rodgers must be thinking about ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup clash.

But would the Celtic manager truly treat the pair differently to anyone else who came in the door? Six months remains a long time in football, and there’ll be plenty of big games for Burke and Weah to make their mark in. Airdrieonians at Parkhead, with the greatest respect, isn’t a game where their star-power is necessarily needed.

There’s always two sides to this argument

Of course, once again you could flip that over.

Airdrieonians at Parkhead is perhaps the BEST time to get them used to their Celtic Park surroundings. It won’t be long before the tougher games against the likes of Hibs, Hearts, and Rangers creep up on us. For some it’s important they’re well used to the team by then.

But is it not unfair on Edouard and Forrest if they both lose their places? Burke can also play on the left, which would mean Scott Sinclair is deservedly dropped, but Burke is primarily a right-winger.

Oliver Burke is competition for both James Forrest and Scott Sinclair(Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

So what would you do if you were in Rodgers’ situation?

Is it a case of throwing Weah and Burke in from the start and telling them to get used to it? Or do you gradually integrate them into first-team affairs with a series of easily winnable games ahead.

Let us know what you would do with the loan stars in the comments below.