Neil Lennon on the thinking behind St. Gallen bounce game

By Hamish Carton

July 5, 2019

Neil Lennon has spoken about the recently criticised bounce game Celtic played against St. Gallen’s under-21s. The Hoops decided to field a largely second-string team for the closed door match in Switzerland, just hours before the two first-teams did battle.

Celtic won the match 9-1 which prompted some criticism from sections of the support about how useful the exercise really was.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

However, speaking to the official Celtic YouTube, Lennon explained the thinking behind the match.

He said: “We had a big squad and didn’t want some of the players to get fifteen minutes against St. Gallen because that wouldn’t have benefitted them much.

“So we decided to split the squad and play two games against the development squad of St. Gallen as well as the first-team.

“You can get as much out of training as you possibly can but the actual match fitness is crucial at this stage.

“We wanted all of the players to get football minutes in their legs and, regardless of the opposition, their attitude was brilliant.”

Lennon’s St. Gallen idea was good

The majority of the Celtic support would be able to see the value behind playing two matches with different squads. Celtic effectively created 180 minutes of opportunity for their players as opposed to the original 90.

The match would barely have been talked about had it been passed off as a usual closed-door friendly. The criticism of some Celtic supporters came from the way the club reported on the game on their social media channels.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic really bigged up their performance, posting the highlights online and doing minute-by-minute updates. That seemed a little bit over the top considering we fielded a team including the likes of Ryan Christie and Leigh Griffiths against a youth side.

It would just have been nice for them to allow the match to pass off as a closed-door friendly should – without much chat. That would have made much more sense.