The Neil Lennon comments today on our right-back hunt should ease concerns over it.
For nearly two months Celtic have needed replacements for both Mikael Lustig and Jeremy Toljan. For months Celtic must’ve known that both would’ve been departing the club too. Yet, still, in mid-July with just under three weeks until the domestic season kicks-off, we still don’t have one in.
It’s subsequently led us to hanging Anthony Ralston out to dry in the first qualifying round. Neil Lennon chose not to select him, and instead played centre-back Kristoffer Ajer against Sarajevo instead. It wasn’t a great look for Ralston, and question marks must hover over where he fits into Lennon’s squad.
But in any case, Lennon today stated that he wants at least one in for the second qualifying round. Speaking to the Scottish Sun, Lenny said the following:
“It is obvious we need a right-back. We are looking to try and get one in maybe and if we can negotiate the second leg on Wednesday we will try and get one or two players in for the second round. We still need to add a bit of quality and depth.”
Neil Lennon comments should mean we avoid disaster
Celtic have just four days until the registration for the second qualifying round comes to a close. We have until midnight on July 18th to submit the squad (UEFA, page 43), and still we’ve yet to bring a right-back in.
But Lennon’s comments suggest we should expect to see one in the door within the next four days. It’s clear he wants one in as soon as possible. In addition to that, Celtic could also do with another as cover given the fact we’ve yet to see Manny Perez in action as of yet.
If worse comes to worst and we didn’t, it perhaps wouldn’t be too much of a disaster. With Christopher Jullien looking impressive on his debut, that could give Kristoffer Ajer the freedom to move back out there for now. He was decent in Sarajevo, and you would trust him against Nomme Kalju or Shkendija in the second leg.
When we seriously need to have one registered in for is the third qualifying tie that’s yet to be drawn. We could face sides such as APOEL Nicosia or PAOK to name a couple. In other words, they’re recognisable names, and we can’t allow ourselves to have such a glaring problem like our right-back one when we face these sides.
But the fact Lennon is targeting one for the second qualifying round is a big bonus. It proves that it would take some blunder for Celtic not to have one in for the third qualifying round when things get seriously difficult.
So it was nice to hear that update from the manager today. It should put some supporters’ minds at rest over it too. Lennon has come out and said when he wants a right-back in for, and the board certainly won’t want to let him down.