Kris Commons thinks Neil Lennon's tactical flexibility at Celtic is a lesson for Gerrard

By John McGinley

February 3, 2020

Former Celtic attacking midfielder Kris Commons has noted manager Neil Lennon’s tactical flexibility of late and thinks it’s something Steven Gerrard should learn from, writing in his Scottish Daily Mail column (03/02 print edition, Verdict supplement page 20).

Since the return from the winter break, Lennon has largely ditched the 4-2-3-1 formation that has been the definitive shape of Celtic for a number of years now.

He’s utilised a central diamond in a 4-4-2 and more regularly deployed a 3-5-2 with attacking wing-backs.

It’s all been in an effort to play two strikers in the same team, giving us more goal threat in the final third than in the first half of the season.

Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard are thriving in the system and Commons thinks that if Rangers are to get the best out of their players, Gerrard needs to show a similar willingness to change things up.

Writing in his Scottish Daily Mail column (03/02 print edition, Verdict supplement page 20), he said: “Since taking charge at Ibrox, Gerrard has stuck religiously to a 4-3-3 system. But a flat three in the middle of the park won’t suit Hagi.

“His best work comes when he’s operating as a genuine No10 in the hole behind the main striker, so switching to a 4-2-3-1 will allow him the freedom to play in that role.

“This is where Gerrard needs to show some tactical flexibility. Lennon has done it recently, switching to a 4-4-2 diamond or a 3-5-2 to get Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard into the same team.”

Lennon gets by without hype

There is not much hype around Lennon’s management ability, certainly in comparison to the Liverpool legend. He wasn’t a fashionable choice when appointed after Brendan Rodgers and that remains in place.

Lennon gets on with his job without much fuss yet has shown over the last 12 months that he’s the best manager in the country.

Title-winning Celtic manager Neil Lennon / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Guiding Celtic to three trophies in that time period, recruiting well last summer and dominating our Europa League group, any criticism of the manager is either shallow in nature or small gripes in the grand scheme of things.

As shown against Hamilton yesterday he has the ability to make great substitutions and since the return from the break his tactics have largely been spot on.

Obviously we’ll leave any discussion on Gerrard’s tactics to others, such as Commons, but if there’s any manager to learn from in Scotland it’s certainly Lennon.