Report: Neil Lennon hoping for quadruple injury boost ahead of Hearts-Celtic
Celtic manager Neil Lennon is reportedly hoping for a quadruple injury boost ahead of our trip to Tynecastle on Wednesday night.
The Hoops gaffer was without four of his players for yesterday’s 2-0 win over Hibernian at Parkhead. Jonny Hayes, Mikey Johnston, Mohamed Elyounoussi, and Ryan Christie were all surprisingly left out of the squad.
But according to the Daily Record, all four could return for Wednesday’s crunch clash at Tynecastle. Celtic go into the game having lost two of their last four trips to Gorgie. Hearts, however, currently sit joint-bottom of the Premiership.
Johnston was the only one of the injured quartet who featured in Thursday night’s Europa League defeat to Cluj. The pacey winger produced a fine individual performance before being hooked on 74 minutes. Johnston didn’t appear to be carrying a knock when he came off.
Elyounoussi, meanwhile, played the first 45 against Rangers before coming off at half-time. The Betfred Cup final was his first appearance since November’s win in Lazio. If both Johnston and Elyounoussi returned, it would add tremendous strength in depth to the left-mid position.
Unwelcome injury knocks
Christie was a particularly surprising omission yesterday. The attacker took to pre-match media duties on Friday and seemed as though he was good to go (Celtic TV). Hopefully, there are no issues there and we see a swift return.
Hayes was another who featured against Rangers, but he stated after the game last weekend that he wasn’t fully-fit (BT Sport). His omission against Cluj wasn’t a surprise, but it was an eyebrow-raiser to see him miss the Hibs win.
The Irishman has a real battle on his hands after the return of Boli Bolingoli. A proper left-back battle looks like it could ensue, and he’ll want to be back ASAP to make sure Boli doesn’t get a head of steam.
In any case, it’s positive news that none of the quartet have any serious knocks. Tynecastle can be a tricky venue, and we can certainly use as strong a squad as possible.
Hearts themselves have problems with Steven Naismith carrying a hamstring knock (Aberdeen Evening Express) and Uche Ikpeazu suspended (Edinburgh Evening News). Celtic know they have depth if all four of their stars miss out again. It’s questionable as to whether Hearts have that same luxury.
Regardless, hopefully we see as many of our injured stars return on Wednesday night.