Former Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink has praised Neil Lennon for his ‘refreshing’ decision to play with two forwards in recent matches, speaking to The Sunday Post.
For years now the Bhoys have played with a 4-2-3-1 formation for the vast majority of games.
With star strikers like Odsonne Edouard and Moussa Dembele available, they have been the focal point of our attack, aided by an exceptional array of midfielders and wingers.
Recently though the manager has brought Leigh Griffiths back into the fold, tweaked the formation to more of a 3-5-2 and played the Scotland international alongside Edouard.
Since the return from the winter break, it’s given Celtic the jolt they needed, with the team scoring loads of goals and not conceding many. We have won every game since December’s dreadful derby defeat.
Vennegoor of Hesselink, who often played in a two-striker system under Gordon Strachan, is a fan of Lennon’s change and thinks it could be a deciding factor in our ongoing quest for nine-in-a-row.
As quoted by The Sunday Post, the PSV Eindhoven chief scout said: “Going to a strike partnership of Edouard and Leigh Griffiths has worked wonderfully well.
“I had a really enjoyable partnership with Scott McDonald, and we scored more than 50 goals between us in 2007-08.
“Playing two strikers up top is not something we see very often in the modern game. The decision to go with Odsonne and Leigh could ultimately prove to be a deciding factor, in a positive way, as to what happens for the rest of the season.
“I think it’s a refreshing change, and good on Neil for trying it and sticking with it.”
Celtic are now unpredictable
Whether Lennon opts for a 3-5-2 or the more tried and tested formation, one thing is clear, Celtic are now pretty unpredictable to the opposition and that is a major benefit.
Over the last 18 months or so, despite our continuing success, it did feel at times like some teams in the division had figured out a way to combat us, none more so than Rangers.
By changing things up and giving himself flexible tactical options, Lennon can now fully utilise the depth of his squad and alter his starting eleven from match to match without falling into rote team selections.
This Thursday’s match against Copenhagen is a perfect example. Right now it’s unknown whether he will go with a four-man defence or a three-man. Will Jeremie Frimpong play? Is there a place for Mohamed Elyounoussi?
If we don’t know as fans, the opposition doesn’t either, making us a more fluid outfit capable of surprise.
The players are fully bought in, the gap is opening up at the top of the table and as big Jan points out, it could be the mid-season refresh we needed to get another title over the line.