Neil Lennon hints at big decision ahead of Rangers clash
Neil Lennon has hinted that he is likely to continue with the attacking structure he has favoured in recent weeks – as Celtic prepare to face Rangers this Sunday.
Much has been made of our three attacking stars behind Odsonne Edouard ever since Mohamed Elyounoussi was sidelined with injury. Lennon has chosen to play James Forrest on the left-wing to replace the Norwegian, with Ryan Christie shunted out to the right and Olivier Ntcham playing through the middle.
Many supporters feel the selection lessens the impact of both Forrest and Christie. However, it seems like fans may have to put up with it for at least one more game if Lennon’s comments on Friday are anything to go by.
“If you look at Manchester City and Liverpool, for example, they play with the inverted wingers. You’ve got Mane coming in off the left, Salah, Mahrez and Bernardo Silva for City,” the Northern Irishman explained on the official Celtic YouTube channel.
“Sometimes when you’ve got a full-back like Frimpong it opens up the avenues for him.
“I don’t wanna give too much away, by the way, but you’ve got Ryan coming in on his strong foot, Jamesy coming in and linking the play.
“We know his preference is to play on the right, and maybe Ryan to play at ten, but I think they’re happy playing and I think they’re happy being involved with the style of play we’re trying this season.”
Lennon doesn’t have too many options against Rangers
Lennon’s comment on not wanting to give too much away hints that he may well be looking at deploying the system again on Sunday.
It wouldn’t be a massive shock either, if we’re totally honest. The front four has been the same for our last three matches. We’ve won all three fixtures with the likes of Ntcham and Forrest chipping in with important goals.
The only real option for Lennon to change it up would be by playing Mikey Johnston on the left-wing. Including the Scotland youth international would allow Forrest to go back to the right and Christie the middle, and many fans would be keen to see that happen.
However, the youngster has still only started one match since returning from injury, despite a number of appearances off the bench.
The likelihood is that Lennon will continue with the team that beat St. Mirren on Boxing Day. He says that Forrest and Christie are happy to be playing in the system, but you just wonder if they’d be happier elsewhere.