It’s been a tough season for Celtic, and Mikael Lustig is happy to acknowledge it.
The Swedish defender started off the campaign as first-choice down the right. But a string of poor defensive displays had the Hoops searching for a replacement in January.
Jeremy Toljan was brought in from Borussia Dortmund to takeover from the Swede. Yet, despite the promise of his signing, Toljan has proved to be no better than Lustig was before him.
Regardless, it’s still been the worst season yet for Lustig in terms of criticism. He hasn’t performed to a good enough standard, and speaking to the Celtic View (Volume 54, issue 33, page 19), Lustig opened up on the campaign as a whole for the club.
“Facing criticism is part of football. It’s natural when you are playing at a high level, but it’s not something all players can handle. That’s what makes this squad so strong.
“As long as you know yourself what you’re capable of, and have your manager’s and team-mates’ backing, you can keep going and overcome any negativity.
“If you look at the season, it’s been tough. There have been a lot of injuries in the squad and things going on around the club, but we’ve all stuck together.”
Nobody ever questioned Lustig’s mentality
It’s fair to say that when it comes to drive and positive-thinking, you can’t criticise Lustig. He says the right things and is a good representative of the club. But it’s his quality that lets him down at the end of the day.
He may have been given a chink of light when you look at just how poor Toljan has been. The German has now featured 10 times for the Hoops, and hasn’t looked comfortable in Scotland. Lustig, for all of his faults, at least looks a lot more comfortable than Toljan in this country.
Lennon started Toljan against Aberdeen after dropping Lustig on Saturday. That was despite the fact Lustig got the majority of the match at Hibs the previous weekend and performed well enough.
There’s still a real battle on for the right-back spot. Huge games are coming up against the likes of Rangers in the Premiership and Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup. It’ll be interesting to see who Lennon goes for.
But Lustig remains in the final couple of months of his contract. There’s been no reported offer yet by Celtic, and it’s looking more and more as if the Swede could be leaving Paradise this summer.