Filip Benkovic’s return to Celtic contention is due to be before the end of the month.
When he picked up his ankle injury back in January, the timeline for being out was six weeks. We’re closing in on the end of that sixth week now, and therefore we should get an update from interim manager Neil Lennon at his pre-Dundee press conference.
If there’s been a further setback to the Croatian’s injury, or if he’s close to fitness, Lennon should let us know. But, regardless of which answer he gives, Benkovic can’t be rushed in for the Rangers game on March 31st.
They may not be much of an outfit, but it remains a monumental game for Lennon. If he wants the Celtic job permanently after the end of the season, he could do with some Glasgow derby wins under his belt to go along with that treble-treble.
Kristoffer Ajer and Dedryck Boyata, meanwhile, have been forming a solid partnership. The duo have conceded just two goals in their last five domestic matches together. One was a penalty and the other came from unsportsmanlike conduct.
Ajer and Boyata in fine form
Both men put in terrific displays in the 0-0 draw against Aberdeen on Saturday. The Dons could’ve nicked even more had it not been for some aggressive one-to-one defending from the duo.
Therefore, it’s clear both men are in some sharp form and playing at their peak just now. Dropping either just to shoehorn Benkovic in for Rangers makes absolutely no sense at all.
It’s also worth remembering that Benkovic offers no guarantees either. He was poor in the first-half at Ibrox before going off injured, and throwing him in therefore doesn’t secure a solid defensive performance.
Celtic’s best centre-back partnership is the one they’ve currently got. Benkovic’s return should be as cover from now on and nothing else – both Ajer and Boyata deserve the jerseys from now through to the end of the season.
Should an injury occur to either and a chance arises for Benkovic to take a spot, then fair enough. But until that happens, however, the Croat should be on the bench until such times.