Neil Lennon says he was left “screaming at the telly” after an “awful moment” concerning Celtic star James Forrest in midweek.
The winger was on Scotland duty when he was on the receiving end of an atrocious challenge from Kazakhstan’s Aibol Abiken. The midfielder was booked for the incident but Lennon reckons he should have seen another colour of card.
“I was screaming at the telly,” Lennon admitted on Friday. (Celtic YouTube channel, 4 mins)
“It was a real heart in mouth moment after a shocking challenge. It was a red card for me and thankfully he came through the game fine and he’s fit and available.
“It was just one of those awful moments when you’re thinking it could be ligament damage or a real sore one. But thankfully he’s strong enough and has avoided serious injury.”
Forrest incident is a perfect example of Lennon’s worst nightmare
The prospect of international injuries must be one of the biggest fears for club managers. There is so little they can do about it, with the players not being under the control of their usual medical staff.
Celtic’s Scotland stars do actually buck that trend a little, due to physio Tim Williamson’s role with the national team. It must be particularly pleasing for the likes of Forrest and Ryan Christie to have Williamson there in the event of any knocks while on international duty.
But while injuries and fatigue are always looked at as real negative consequences of international football, Lennon was also keen to point out that the matches can have their benefits.
“Sometimes that’s the flipside of it,” Lennon said. “Everyone’s looking for the negative but actually, you look at the likes of Bitton going away with his country, having a couple of games and coming back.
“Those games will do him a world of good. Some of them you’d like to have a rest. But others you’re quite happy for them to go away and play.”