Christopher Jullien is set to miss Celtic's Europa League tie with A.C. Milan

By Euan Davidson

December 2, 2020

Christopher Jullien is “a doubt” for Thursday night’s Europa League clash with A.C. Milan despite only just coming back last week, Neil Lennon has confirmed.

During today’s press conference, in which he outlined the unity of the team and club as a whole, Lennon said:

“Jullien has come back, he’s played two games, so he’s a doubt. Duffy is having a knee assessed, he picked up a knock in training today, we’ll see how he is.”

“I’ll still try and put a strong team out and see how it goes.”

Lennon also confirmed that Norwegian attacker Mohammed Elyounoussi will be absent, as he too recovers from an injury.

It’s a situation that leaves Celtic’s defence threadbare against an impressive attacking outlet in Milan. Although qualification from Group H is no longer possible, Lennon will be at least looking for a positive reaction from his team.

In the same press conference, Lennon talked about his solid relationship with the board and responded to questions about having the backing of his players with a pointed “Why wouldn’t I?”.

Hatem Abd Elhamed / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Options at the back

Lennon’s revelations mean that his trusted pair of Jullien and Ajer are unlikely to start tomorrow night. In his place, either of Bitton or Elhamed are likely to stake a claim to a regular first-team place.

Both of the Israeli internationals have been in and out of the team, with Elhamed returning in last week’s horror show against Sparta Prague.

Jullien’s injury isn’t thought to be a long-term problem. The French defender has only just returned from a two-and-a-half month absence with a back injury.

Celtic’s defence has looked shaky all season. Shane Duffy has done little to bolster his reputation, while Kristoffer Ajer looks overworked as he tries to make do alongside a rotating cast of players.

The defence will be a top priority should Nick Hammond and Neil Lennon look to make transfer moves in January. Jack Hendry has impressed on loan at KV Mechelen in Belgium, but seems unlikely to cut his stay short.

Philadelphia Union centre-back Mark McKenzie has been heavily linked with a move in the upcoming transfer window. Celtic have already had a £2.2m bid turned down according to Sports Illustrated, but may be tempted to go back for the promising defender.