Ahead of a huge week for the club, it would be most sensible for Neil Lennon to play Moritz Bauer vs Hamilton on Wednesday night.
Jeremie Frimpong was given his place back in Dingwall for yesterday’s 4-1 win over Ross County. However, for perhaps the first time in his career, he struggled to make any impact. The tightness of the Dingwall pitch didn’t help him, and many of his passes were backward as he couldn’t get going in an attacking sense.
The temptation is therefore clearly there for Lennon to throw Frimpong back in against Hamilton. After all, with the game being at Celtic Park, it’s the perfect opportunity for him to get back on track.
However, there really is absolutely no need to toss him in just for that.
If Lennon is going to feature him against Rangers, and he looks the favourite to be given the shot, then it would be sensible for Bauer to get another chance vs Hamilton.
Bauer needs the chance to build on Rennes
The Austrian had an up-and-down display against Rennes last Thursday. He didn’t have any real influence on the game going forward, but he was reliable at the back for the most part. The Rennes goal did come down his side, but with Ryan Christie often cutting in from the right, it left him exposed at times.
Celtic need to keep Bauer fit and ready for whenever he needs called upon. Another 90 minutes against Hamilton would do both his confidence and his match-sharpness plenty of good. Considering Bauer only had two 90-minute appearances throughout the whole of October, he could do with the minutes. Overall this season, he’s started on the bench 11 times, with seven out of 11 league games seeing him labeled a substitute (Transfermarkt).
It’s also a chance he’ll have to take given his current position in the squad.
Meanwhile, resting Frimpong and keeping him fresh for Hampden is essential. Lennon would be kicking himself if he took a nasty challenge against Hamilton and had to miss Sunday.
In a way, we’re fortunate that we have a home clash against Hamilton just days before the Rangers game. Whilst we don’t want to take anything for granted, the fixture-list could’ve been harsher. Meanwhile, on the same night, Rangers will trek up to Aberdeen just days before the cup final.
It should give us the added luxury of resting players like Frimpong, Callum McGregor, James Forrest etc. Lennon won’t want to go overboard, but he has some flexibility there.
But when you take into account the current situations of both Bauer and Frimpong, it seems like a no-brainer to give the former a shot on Wednesday night. Time to wrap Jeremie up in cotton wool.