Neil Lennon explains Christopher Jullien's omission from Celtic vs Hamilton
Celtic 2-1 Hamilton was a fair bit nervier than we would’ve liked, and it could’ve gone a bit smoother with Christopher Jullien in the mix.
Instead, the Frenchman surprisingly sat out the contest, with Nir Bitton jumping in to partner Kristoffer Ajer. Since breaking into the team in late-August, the Hamilton win is the first time Jullien’s missed a game.
His omission from the squad altogether could easily bring up question marks ahead of Sunday. With Celtic set to face Rangers in a crucial Betfred Cup final clash, his availability is key to our hopes of a smooth afternoon.
Fortunately, Lenny revealed to Celtic TV post-match that his absence last night was nothing more than a night off.
“We’re alright on the injury front. Obviously Chris Jullien had the night off. He’s had a huge volume of games and a few bumps and bruises, so the night off for him will do him the world of good.”
Jullien vs Morelos a key battle on Sunday
We saw a preview of it at Ibrox, but the battle between Jullien vs Alfredo Morelos on Sunday could get tasty.
For those who saw Aberdeen’s 2-2 draw with Rangers last night, they’ll have noticed how Morelos allowed his agitation to get the better of him as the game went on. Constantly rolling around and throwing himself to the deck in a bid to win free-kicks is something we’ve become accustomed to. However, it all stemmed from how Scott McKenna gave him no room to operate in.
Jullien did likewise in the last derby game at Ibrox. When Morelos came on for the closing stages, Ibrox roared in anticipation. They certainly didn’t expect Jullien, who had played the full game, to simply slip him into his back pocket.
The Frenchman managed to get tight to him and managed to snuff out his movement and aggression. Morelos tried to bully the former Toulouse man, but it simply didn’t work.
We’ll need more of that on Sunday if it’s to be a smooth outing. Morelos has yet to score against Celtic, and in a further boost, we’ve yet to face him with a centre-back as strong, experienced, and consistent as Jullien. Granted, Ajer isn’t that far behind.
It’s absolutely key that he wasn’t injured last night and wasn’t going into Sunday carrying any knocks. So far in his Celtic career, he’s managed to keep the likes of M’Baye Niang, Ciro Immobile, and Bilel Omrani fairly quiet in 90-minute battles. You would strongly fancy him to add Morelos to that list this weekend.