Celtic interim manager Neil Lennon admits he was delighted for Tom Rogic on Sunday after being “off-colour” recently.
The Australian bagged a sweet third goal against Aberdeen in the 3-0 rout at the weekend. The result sets up a potentially historical Scottish Cup final against Hearts at Hampden Park on May 25th.
It looks as though Rogic is going to be instrumental for that clash too. With Ryan Christie sidelined, Rogic has a huge chance to make the number 10 spot his own over the next few weeks.
Since returning to first-team action against Rangers on March 31st, the Aussie had been looking leggy. But recent outings against the Dons and Livingston have seen him look a tad sharper. Lennon, speaking in the Scottish Sun, was happy to acknowledge his previous sloppiness, and stated his pleasure at seeing the Wizard of Oz back on the scoresheet.
“I was delighted Tom got his goal.
“He’s been out for a while and has been a bit off-colour, but he scored a great goal for us and showed what he can do, so to have all of these players back is fantastic for me because I haven’t really had time to work with them on a day to day basis.
“The only downside was losing Ryan, who was in brilliant form.”
Couldn’t have come at a better time
It’s important not to underestimate just how vital it is to have Rogic back. So often this season, and often when the Aussie has been missing, Celtic have looked ponderous going forward.
One of the biggest criticisms this season has been the slow nature of the play going forward. And whilst Rogic doesn’t bring electrifying pace, he provides a touch of class to the number 10 position unrivaled by anyone in Scottish football.
It’s fair to say that his reintroduction back into first-team matters comes at a crucial stage. Celtic are two wins from the Premiership title. Trips to Easter Road, Pittodrie, and Ibrox all arrive in the coming weeks. We’ve already seen what can happen at the likes of Hibs and Rangers when we don’t have Rogic in the side.
There is an argument to say that when Celtic wrap up the title, the rest of the fixtures don’t matter. But that’s never been the case at the Parkhead. Winning is everything, regardless of whether it’s a cup final or a dead-rubber.
Rogic’s return to fitness and form couldn’t have come at a better time. And Lennon is also clearly happy with his most recent display, which bodes well for his selection chances in the coming weeks.