Celtic manager Neil Lennon has admitted that he wants to give fringe-players Marian Shved and Vakoun Issouf Bayo more minutes.
The Hoops boss was speaking about trying to protect the likes of Callum McGregor, James Forrest, and some of the regular starters who continue to feature every week.
Shved finally made his first Celtic appearance since July with an unspectacular cameo against Ross County on Saturday. Bayo, meanwhile, also came on to make his 10th appearance of the season against County too. The pair have scored two goals this season between them, and it looks like they may start to get more chances.
Speaking in the Celtic View this week (Volume 55, Issue 16, Pages 6 and 7), Lenny was talking about McGregor’s form when he namedropped the fringe duo.
“His (McGregor) form recently has been outstanding as well and I’m delighted with the goal (vs County). The run he made to get on the end of that chance which hit the post was brilliant. He’s adding stronger aspects of his play he’s on four or five now for the season.
“We have to protect them (likes of McGregor and Forrest) and give the likes of Shved and Bayo some game-time.”
The Shved mystery finally looks like it’s coming to an end
For several months now, we’ve all wondered why Shved hasn’t been seen on matchdays. After all, in his only previous game against Nomme Kalju, he actually managed to find the net.
Since then, we haven’t heard anything about his current situation or why he was missing. Everyone knew he was injured for a brief spell, but he hasn’t been crocked for the last three months.
But with such a chaotic list of winter fixtures coming up, Lenny clearly wants to use the rest of the squad. Shved will get his chances to impress, and being a straight replacement for Forrest looks extremely likely.
This also sounds like a sign from Lennon that he’s finally going to ease the burden on Odsonne Edouard. The big striker has started every game bar three this season. He has also been in every matchday squad too.
But if Lennon is going to be giving Bayo some more game-time, this also points to a run in the team during the winter fixtures. It’s that time of year where fringe players at Parkhead get the chance to impress.
This is also likely good news for the likes of Jonny Hayes, Tom Rogic, and potentially Lewis Morgan too. Lennon looks set to freshen things up, with Shved and Bayo at the forefront of any rotation.