At this stage of the game, it’s clear that there’s been a winner in our right-back battle.
Mikael Lustig and Jeremy Toljan have been going head-to-head for the position since January. And, after a spell of underwhelming performances from the German, it’s Lustig that looks like having solidified himself in the position.
Celtic interim boss Neil Lennon has been consistently complementary to the Swede since arriving. And, in his six matches in charge so far, Lustig has played in five of them. He’s started in four, coming on as a sub only in the 2-1 win at Hearts in Lennon’s first game.
Toljan, meanwhile, has had a much worse time of it under Lennon. He’s only appeared in four of Lennon’s six in charge, starting in just two of them.
It very much appears as though Lennon is going back to what he knows in Lustig. Toljan, after all, was a Brendan Rodgers signing from Borussia Dortmund back in January. He’s only on loan until the end of the season, and getting him permanently doesn’t look too tempting.
Lustig, meanwhile, was signed by Lennon back in 2011. Effectively, he’s still Lennon’s player even if he’s contracted to leave at the end of the season.
Lustig looks a better option than Toljan
Mainly, however, Lustig has looked a lot more calm and composed at right-back than Toljan has. He’s still clearly defensively vulnerable, but Toljan certainly hasn’t brought more to the table than Lustig in his 12 Celtic appearances so far.
The Swede now has a strong run of games under his belt. Whilst there’s no news of a new contract as of yet from Parkhead, it’s looking like he’ll be number one once again between now and the end of the season.
Celtic could still seriously do with strengthening in that area regardless of whether Lustig signs a new contract or not, of course. But for now, it’s difficult to see a better option at right-back than him at the moment.
It’s an incredible turn of events in truth. Lustig was making mistake after mistake during the first-half of the season. It’s effectively what forced the club into bringing another right-back to Parkhead in January.
But Toljan just hasn’t proved to be anywhere near good enough to warrant staying in the side. For now, it’s safe to say that Lustig is number one once again, regardless of whether he plays on Saturday against Livingston or not.