Frimpong injury could cause selection headache for Celtic's Neil Lennon
There’ll have been many newer names that’ll have Celtic fans excited after last night’s win over Lille (BBC). Ewan Henderson, Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull all impressed last night, but one youngster faces a struggle for contention.
Right-back Jeremie Frimpong came off after half an hour of last night’s game. That’ll be a huge blow for Neil Lennon, who is now facing a selection dilemma on the right side of his defence.
Frimpong’s 30 minute contribution was key to Celtic last night. His movement and ability to take players on were vital in the early successes Celtic enjoyed. His chaotic energy won the Bhoys a first-half penalty which Callum McGregor duly converted.
Additionally, with Ajer playing behind him, Frimpong’s intensity and work-rate did not come at a defensive disadvantage. His potential loss to Celtic over the next few weeks will cause problems.
Ewan Henderson filled in, attacking Lille’s left-hand side to decent effect. The young midfielder had been somewhat of a forgotten man this season, but his performance was good enough to give Lennon pause for thought.
However, we’re left without a first-choice right-back. Hatem Elhamed is unlikely to play for Celtic again, and even if he does get a game in December, he’ll be away in the window.
While we don’t know the extent of Frimpong’s injury, the fact is that we were going to be short on full-backs in any case. With a Scottish Cup Final coming up (Herald), Lennon has a big call to make.
The primary option seems to be Kristoffer Ajer. Normally starting on the left of a 3 this season, Ajer had a fantastic game filling in on the right. He turned into Cristiano Ronaldo for Celtic’s third last night, with step-overs aplenty and defenders lying in his wake.
His clinical pass to Turnbull helped to ensure a truly meaningful victory for Celtic. If not in terms of points and Europa League progression, last night was inarguably important for morale.
In reserve, there’s Anthony Ralston. Yet to make an appearance this season, you could be forgiven for forgetting entirely that the Celtic academy graduate was at the club for 20-21.
Unfortunately, Ralston is probably most famous for winding up Neymar in a game Celtic lost heavily (Daily Record). Fun though that was, he’s barely kicked a ball for the Bhoys since 2017.
Lennon will surely look to use a more seasoned campaigner in a game of this magnitude. Don’t be surprised to see Ralston’s name amongst the substitutes over the rest of December, though.