Odsonne Edouard’s return to the Celtic squad for the game against Lille on Thursday is great news for the Hoops. Fans will be delighted that the Celtic talisman, who has recovered from a diagnosis of Covid-19, is likely to play a part against the French side.
However, what will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds is just how much football Edouard will play in France. It is highly unlikely that he will start the game. Therefore, Neil Lennon must decide just how much playing time Edouard will get in France.
Tactic worked, despite defeat
What the Hoops boss should be thinking of doing is emulating a return that had some success in the recent game against Milan. Okay, Celtic lost the game 3-1. but one aspect of the game which was a success was the return of Ryan Christie to the first-team.
Christie didn’t have Covid-19, but similarly to Edouard he had to self-isolate. However, he was able to play 45 minutes against Milan, help Celtic to have it’s best spell of the game, and as a result was able to start against Aberdeen last week.
That is a tactic that Neil Lennon should emulate when it comes to Edouard. Give him 30 to 45 minutes of playing time. If he comes through the test unscathed, then start Edouard at Hampden against Aberdeen.
Hoops would be boosted if player emerges unscathed
The Europa League game against Lille is important for Celtic of course. However, it’s timing doesn’t really suit an Edouard start. That is not the case with the Scottish Cup semi-final. Edouard can give the Hoops a huge boost by starting the game vs Aberdeen.
That would not only be a boost to Celtic, but it would be a real blow to Aberdeen, as the Hoops’ main man would be back in action.
Of course, Edouard must navigate playing against Lille first. A good performance in that game would set him up nicely for a tilt at the Dons.