Neil Lennon says Tom Rogic has a part to play at Celtic; looked set to leave last month

By David Walton

October 7, 2020

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has confirmed that Tom Rogic will have his part to play this season, despite nearly departing the club over the summer.

Rogic was all but set to end his seven-year association with the Hoops last month when Celtic accepted a £3.5million offer for his services from Qatar. However, the Aussie decided against it in the end and the move fell through (The Herald).

The former Central Coast Mariners star had yet to make a single appearance before a 14-minute cameo against St Johnstone on Sunday. His influence helped Celtic secure a vital 2-0 win, as he reminded supporters of just how big a player he could be this season.

Tom Rogic in action for Celtic / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

And it appears that the message was sent to Lennon too. Speaking at a press conference posted via Celtic TV last night, the manager confirmed Rogic will get his opportunities as the season progresses:

“Yes he is (part of my plans). He’s been training well now the last few weeks. He’s had knee and ankle problems but at the minute he’s good.

“He’s in the building for the next couple of weeks now (during the international break), so we can get some more physical work into him and he will definitely play a part.

“Obviously there was a bid in for him, it was accepted but the deal fell through. He’s here with us now and we’re delighted. He came on, played very well at the weekend.  If he’s fit and firing he’s a wonderful player to have around the place.”

Is it a stretch to suggest Rogic plays vs Rangers?

With Ryan Christie unfortunately having to self-isolate over the course of the next 14 days (SFA), Lennon has a massive dilemma regarding what to do in the number 10 position against Rangers.

Whether we play with a 4-2-3-1, a 3-5-2, or a 3-5-1-1 – Lennon will almost certainly keep the number 10 spot in his system. That means he needs a replacement for Christie for the games against Rangers and likely AC Milan too.

Rogic, on his day, would be that outstanding replacement, but there are question marks there. With Sunday’s win at McDiarmid Park being his first appearance of the campaign – it’s a massive ask to request that he features in games of such high intensity such as Rangers and Milan. You worry about whether he has enough in the legs, regardless of how much physical work he gets over the next two weeks, to play those matches.

Celtic star Tom Rogic / (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

Lennon can also play Norwegian international Mohamed Elyounoussi in the position too, and the Southampton-owned star has shown signs that he would be more suited to that role as opposed to the left-wing spot.

It seems a stretch to suggest Rogic may feature against Rangers, at least from the start. Lennon has always been hesitant when it comes to throwing players in at the deep end. Then again, it could be a case of needs must.

It’s a massive decision, but that’s what Lennon gets paid for.

In other news, an exciting Premier League winger Celtic were linked with on deadline day is reportedly set to be sold in January.