Neil Lennon made some exciting remarks before the Aberdeen match today that may have gone unnoticed.
The Hoops boss was speaking about getting the Premiership title wrapped up as soon as possible. Assuming Celtic got past Aberdeen at Hampden today, Lennon wants to give players a break before the cup final.
Celtic are now penciled in to face Hearts at the national stadium on May 25th. It’s going to be a match in which Lennon has to make sure all of our top stars are as fit as possible for.
And, it looks as though in the run-up to the clash that the fringe-men are going to get their chance over the first-team regulars. Speaking in the Sunday Mail (Sunday April 14th, Page 73), Lennon outlined the plans if Celtic won this afternoon.
“Everything is in place for pre-season on June 17, things will be ready. My worry would be the amount of time off that they are getting, because there are internationals sandwiched between that as well.
“The most important games of the season can be the first ones, when you don’t know what sort of condition they are going to be in. Hopefully we can give them some time off.
“Ideally, win the league as quickly as possible and give them a break. Give them a game and then a couple of weeks off. We have done that before and benefited. It is just trying to find the balance because they will be flogged to death eventually.”
Big opportunities to shine for fringe men
The likes of Timothy Weah, Oliver Burke, and Jeremy Toljan have all struggled for opportunities recently. It sounds as though they may not be given a proper go until the Premiership is won either.
You have to imagine this could open up doors for young talent to get a place in Celtic squads too. The likes of Armstrong Oko-flex, Karamoko Dembele, and Kerr McInroy have all been impressing at reserve team level.
Victory at Easter Road next Sunday may not actually be enough to seal the title, however. Only a Rangers slip-up at Hearts and a win for us over Hibernian would do the trick. That could allow fringe and youth stars to get some opportunities against Kilmarnock and Aberdeen.
You wouldn’t imagine Lennon will want to feature anything other than his strongest team against Rangers at Ibrox. Hearts at home on the final day of the campaign is another you can’t see a weakened side starting.
But, regardless, it looks as though some of the fringe men are about to get their big chance. So long as, of course, the Hoops get the league wrapped up soon.