Celtic manager Neil Lennon has explained that Vakoun Bayo is still short of match-fitness.

The Northern Irishman has only given the Ivorian one outing since becoming manager. That came in a desperate move to salvage last week’s Champions League tie against Cluj.

In fairness to Lenny, however, Bayo has been injured for most of pre-season in any case. He injured himself against Wiener Sportclub back in late June, and has yet to break back into the team since.

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Vakoun Issouf Bayo has still to start a game for Celtic (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

And after failing to feature Bayo against Dunfermline on Saturday, Lenny touched on where the former Dunajska Streda man stands. Speaking to the Celtic View (Volume 55, Issue 07, Page 06), this is what Lenny had to say:

“Bayo’s been back training and was on the bench at the weekend. He’s obviously still got a bit to go to get his match fitness up. But he’s fully recovered and training well.”

Lennon Vakoun Bayo comments pose a big question

It’s fine for Lenny to say that Bayo lacks match-fitness, but there’s only one way to change that and we all know what that is.

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We can all appreciate the fact that Bayo isn’t first choice. But there have now been two opportunities to help him build his match-fitness over the last few days alone.

Bayo can offer Celtic something different going forward (Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images)

Lenny refused to bring on Bayo during the 2-1 victory over Dunfermline on Saturday. He then decided not to give him one of the two over-age spots for Celtic Colts’ 3-1 loss at Clyde last night.

So there have been opportunities there, but it’s just that Lennon hasn’t decided to give him the minutes required.

It makes it even more bemusing knowing that Bayo isn’t even injured. According to the Hoops manager, he’s ready to go when called upon and is simply short of sharpness.

Lennon didn’t give Bayo a run-out against the Pars (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

So when will be the right time for Bayo? AIK, Hearts, and Rangers hardly look like fixtures where he would be thrown in. He also has the problem of Leigh Griffiths being ahead of him too. Whenever Lenny does decide to drop Odsonne Edouard, it’s more often than not going to be Griff who replaces him.

So far, Bayo has made just two competitive appearances in eight months. It’s no wonder he’s short of match-fitness. All eyes will be on just where Lennon decides to throw him in. But at the moment, it’s difficult to see where the opportunities are for him.


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