Neil Lennon confirms that Celtic duo won't play tonight

By David Walton

July 30, 2019

Neil Lennon has confirmed that two Celtic fringe players won’t feature tonight in Estonia.

Whilst Callum McGregor and James Forrest are at home resting, they’ve been kept behind with another duo who are looking to build up their fitness levels.

Vakoun Issouf Bayo and Eboue Kouassi are also still in Glasgow after not traveling with the squad. The contest could’ve provided either with a chance to impress the Hoops manager. Still, however, both remain a bit away before they can feature.

Eboue Kouassi won’t feature in Estonia tonight (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

Speaking on Celtic TV at his pre-match press conference for tonight, Lenny confirmed the duo will miss out.

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“Bayo and Kouassi are still a little bit short. So they haven’t traveled either.”

A chance for the Celtic fringe players to impress

It’s a blow for both Bayo and Kouassi to be missing out in this one. This is clearly a match in which Lennon is open to allowing the fringe stars to make an impression.

Vakoun Issouf Bayo hasn’t featured competitively so far this season (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

It’s highly likely that both would’ve featured had they been available and ready for competitive action. Both have been training with the squad in recent weeks, however, so hopefully, they aren’t too far away.

To say they both would’ve started is perhaps a stretch, of course. Tonight’s game just looks made up for Leigh Griffiths to get some game-time up top. Odsonne Edouard, you would expect, will be rested ahead of Saturday’s Premiership opener against St Johnstone.

Neil Lennon will want his side to keep their foot on the accelerator tonight (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

In the midfield, both Olivier Ntcham and Luca Connell will surely be in the mix for a start. In truth, substitute appearances would’ve been the most likely path for both Kouassi and Bayo tonight.

But, unfortunately, that’s been ruled out by the Celtic manager. With a bit of luck both are back and ready to feature as soon as possible. Celtic’s August calendar could see them play three times-per-week consistently, so we need all the bodies we can get.