Celtic attacker Oliver Burke appears to be back in contention once again after making the squad to face Hibernian yesterday.
The on-loan West Bromwich Albion star didn’t come off the bench at Easter Road, instead ending the game as an unused substitute.
But his return is a timely boost. Celtic could perhaps have done with the energy that Burke would’ve had the ability to provide yesterday. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the Scotland international has electric pace that could’ve made the difference on the day, especially with tired legs occurring in the second 45.
At the moment, the last thing Burke will likely remember in a Hoops jersey was his horror miss against Livingston. To give Celtic the chance to go 13 points clear once again, the West Brom-owned man managed to poke wide from just yards out after rounding the goalkeeper.
It’s not a miss he’s been able to overcome as of yet. He missed last week’s Scottish Cup success against Aberdeen due to injury. Now, however, it thankfully looks as though he’s back and ready to make amends.
Does Burke deserve shot at redemption against Killie?
Saturday is a simply colossal game. Three points are essential. Should Celtic fail to win, then the gap could be shortened to just seven points at least with three games remaining.
Therefore, it would be a surprise to see Neil Lennon tinker with the team too much. James Forrest has been receiving praise from Lennon since he walked in the door two months ago. Dropping him for Burke isn’t something you could see the Northern Irishman entertaining.
Jonny Hayes appears to have done enough to warrant the left-wing role as it stands too. He’s started the last two big games under Lennon, with Scott Sinclair in first reserve. So Burke, therefore, looks pretty out of the equation down either flank.
Up top, you just can’t drop Odsonne Edouard. He’s saved Lennon’s skin on a couple of occasions since he rejoined the club. He’s the number one man up top, and him starting against Killie is essential.
So any appearance Burke makes will likely be from the bench. Unless Lennon pulls a surprise or two upon us, it remains difficult to see where Burke gets a chance.
At the very least, however, it’s encouraging to see him back. He adds genuine pace from the bench, even if his technique on the ball is highly questionable.