Sarajevo vs Celtic on Tuesday night will be the curtain-raiser for the Hoops this season.
Coming out of pre-season, there have been many talking points too. Transfer targets, the prospect of Andrew Gutman, and the wonderful start to the campaign for Mikey Johnston. But one has certainly overtaken many others and is perhaps the most intriguing too.
Odsonne Edouard vs Leigh Griffiths was always going to come up at some point, but there’s no denying it’s been thrown in our face quicker than first thought. Griff has smashed home six goals in three pre-season friendlies this summer. Eddy, meanwhile, has yet to get on the scoresheet in two and also missed a penalty against St Gallen.
So that all points to Lennon starting Griffiths on Tuesday, right? Well, not if you look at the way the Northern Irishman has been talking about the pair this pre-season. Speaking to Celtic TV, Lennon said that Griff had come a long way, but that he “he knows he needs to get a little bit fitter.”
Meanwhile, Lenny praised Edouard to the hilt for his performances last season, and couldn’t help but laud the striker just days before we face Sarajevo. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, Lenny had this to say on Edouard:
“He did very well as the lone striker and he took on that responsibility very well. Odsonne was the one fit, quality, bona-fide striker that we had in the final stretch of the season.
“I know what I have with Odsonne and there is a lot more to come from him. He is only 21, so there is a lot of scope for development there with him.”
Griff has started better than Eddy – is Sarajevo vs Celtic too soon for him?
If you’re comparing the two based on pre-season form, Griffiths takes the award hands down. The Scotland internationalist is incredibly looking fitter and sharper than ever. You can see the work he’s been putting in down the gym during his time away from Parkhead.
He may not be match-fit, but he’s looking physically fit. Many of the striker’s goals this pre-season have been typical Griffiths goals. He’s been causing defences to panic, and looks like he can run forever with his current energy levels.
Edouard, meanwhile, needs more game-time. He proved in the Scottish Cup final against Hearts last May that you can never take him off when you think he’s performing poorly. He’s a big-game player, and Lennon has been constantly praising him this pre-season.
The fact Edouard also started against St Gallen’s first-team whilst Griffiths played the under-21s could also be telling. It could be a case that Lennon wants to make sure that Griff really is at 100% before throwing him into the firing line.
Is a Champions League qualifier, regardless of the opposition, the right time to get Griff’s match-fitness up? Bearing in mind we also have a friendly against Stade Rennais at Celtic Park this Saturday, that would be the ideal time for Griffiths to continue his comeback.
Of course, Edouard hardly looks 100% himself. But as it stands, he still has the jersey. If Lennon’s comments are anything to go by, that doesn’t look like changing this week.