Celtic manager Neil Lennon has announced some potential squad changes for tomorrow night’s trip to Motherwell.
In our 4-1 win against Hamilton Academical on Sunday, the Hoops missed Jozo Simunovic, Boli Bolingoli, and Mohamed Elyounoussi. The Hoops boss has stated that all four men will be back when speaking at today’s press conference via the club’s official YouTube page.
Jonny Hayes, meanwhile, played a key role at Accies as his quick thinking helped in the run-up to our second goal. Lennon has stated that he’s unfortunately picked up a slight knock and can be considered doubtful. Here’s what Neil had to say regarding the potential ins and outs of the squad for tomorrow:
“We’re just looking at Jonny Hayes. He’s got a bit of a stiff calf, so he’ll be monitored today. Apart from that, everyone else is okay.
“Elyounoussi is back in the squad and Simunovic is back in the squad. Boli’s just had a bit of time out, so he’ll be back in contention for the squad tomorrow as well.”
Who’s likely to start?
The return of £16m man Elyounoussi (The Telegraph) is the most eye-catching of them all. He hasn’t played since December’s Betfred Cup win over Rangers. Of course, because of that, it’ll likely take some time for him to get back up to speed. You have to expect him to start on the bench.
Bolingoli is another who hasn’t been seen since before the winter break. Given his last outing was a dreadfully poor display at home to Rangers, he can’t come back in and command the jersey. Greg Taylor is standing in his way, and with Hayes as a doubt, Boli could take his spot on the bench too.
Having Simunovic back is great news of course. He adds further and much-needed cover to the defensive ranks. Stephen Welsh had a terrific debut at Hamilton, but considering Motherwell are third in the table, Lennon could go for experience over youth here.
As for Hayes’ potential omission, it’s a blow for him personally. Hayes cost Celtic £1m from Aberdeen back in the summer of 2017 (The Herald), and he’s proved to be a reliable find ever since. Given the boost he’ll have gotten from his cameo role in Hamilton, he’ll have surely hoped to build on it.
But this is all positive news outside of that. Celtic are finally getting some key men back into their squad, and competition is beefing up in areas where we need them to.
It hopefully all culminates in a perfect storm at Fir Park. In a game that can’t help but read as a potential banana skin, having several players back in the fold is most welcome.