Marian Shved’s omission from the Celtic squad yesterday was perhaps the most baffling aspect of the game overall.
There was an air of intrigue heading into the 2-1 win at Partick Thistle. Just what changes would Neil Lennon make after watching such a horrendous display against Rangers in our previous encounter? Fresh off of the training camp in Dubai, it was bound to be freshened up.
However, that clearly didn’t extend to Shved. The Ukrainian wasn’t in the matchday squad despite being hyped up by Lenny after the Dubai trip.
Indeed, the Celtic manager stated that he believed Shved had the opportunity to “explode” into contention (Celtic FC Twitter). It all seemed made up for him to start against Partick or at least play a part.
Yet, when push came to shove, he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Instead, Lennon decided to play with no wingers against Partick.
Partick seemed the ideal fixture
Shved likely isn’t going to get tossed into a big game anytime soon. Whilst the Partick clash was always a must-win given it was in the Scottish Cup, we still had room to fit Shved into the team.
It’s not as if Lennon was totally against having wingers in the squad either. Daniel Arzani came on for a cameo role at Firhill and drifted over to the left consistently. Why Shved didn’t get that same opportunity despite impressing in Dubai is beyond a mystery.
Just when is his opportunity really going to arrive at this point? In the coming weeks, Celtic have trips to Rugby Park, St Johnstone, Hamilton, and Motherwell on the agenda. Our only home match sandwiched in between is Ross County.
But there are no signs that Shved will feature in any of those. James Forrest is likely to come back in and be Lennon’s main man when he returns to fitness.
And that will be another concern for Shved. Forrest was injured yesterday. Outside of Jimmy and Shved, we have no natural right-wingers available to us. Yet, despite that glaring positional problem, Shved still can’t seem to break in even when there’s nobody else available.
Hopefully, Lennon’s squad selection was mainly down to the shape he wanted to play. Having Boli Bolingoli and Jonny Hayes on the bench, for example, seems unnecessary. Especially when you have a talent like Shved waiting in the wings. Another disappointing afternoon for the Ukraine internationalist.