Neil Lennon dismisses Celtic changes for St Mirren match

By David Walton

December 24, 2019

Neil Lennon has dismissed the idea of any mass changes to his Celtic team vs St Mirren.

The Buddies are only one point off the relegation playoff position and come into the game in ninth place. The match is just three days before Celtic host Rangers at Parkhead, in a game that could see us go at least eight points clear with a win.

The temptation is clearly there to rest some key stars. The likes of Ryan Christie, James Forrest, and Odsonne Edouard have played a lot of football recently.

Could Neil Lennon make some changes for Thursday? Unlikely (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Yet Lennon clearly isn’t following the train of thought that changing things up is ideal ahead of Sunday. Speaking at his press conference via Celtic TV, Lenny confirmed he’ll be sending out a strong team in Paisley.

“We’ve had seven games this month and we’ve maybe changed the team once or twice. One player or two players in. So I don’t think that’s going to change now before the end of the month.

I think they’re in a good place physically, mentally they’re playing with a lot of confidence, so I don’t really see major changes for the game on Boxing Day or against Rangers.

“We did the whole change for the Cluj game because that was a luxury we felt we could afford to do. We used that, and the rest of the time we’ve gone with 14 or 15 who’re playing very very well. It’s difficult for the rest to break into that when they are playing so well.”

Where could Celtic tweak things for Boxing Day?

It’s difficult to know where the one or two tweaks could come this Thursday considering Lenny could just want consistency. He may not fancy the likes of Christie or Edouard missing this one in order to keep their intensity levels high heading into the Rangers game.

Lennon will want consistency over safety (Paul Ursachi/MB Media/Getty Images)

There is the potential to rest the likes of Boli Bolingoli or indeed Callum McGregor. Goodness knows that Greg Taylor, for example, could use a bit of game-time.

Given how disastrous an Edouard knock would be, Lenny may want to consider keeping him fresh. If he was to miss out, we can’t afford to play the likes of Lewis Morgan again. That was the main reason we were so poor at Hampden.

We still have Leigh Griffiths trying to build up his fitness, and given he started in Cluj, he’s clearly fit to play the majority of a match at least. St Mirren away reads like a good game to give him his second start since returning from injury too.

Could Leigh Griffiths get a Boxing Day opportunity? (Paul Ursachi/MB Media/Getty Images)

Outside of that, this could be a team that once again picks itself on Boxing Day. Lennon has a strong spine of players he can trust, and it’s likely they all take to the field to ensure we get another three points in Paisley.

It’s going to be an intriguing game. We didn’t have any top performances there last season. A 0-0 draw back in September 2018 was followed up with a decent but not spectacular 2-0 win in April. The latter, of course, would still be welcomed by us all on Thursday.