Return of Elyounoussi to Celtic starting lineup should not be overlooked

By John Reid

February 29, 2020

It has to be said, Celtic’s 3-1 Europa League defeat to Copenhagen has to go down as one of the biggest disappointments of the season.

The Hoops looked to have a great chance of reaching the last 16 of the competition. However, a combination of bad finishing and individual mistakes let the team down.

The nature of the loss will be the most disappointing aspect. Copenhagen arguably weren’t as good as the Lazio team Celtic defeated twice in the group stage of the competition.

Mohamed Elyounoussi celebrates scoring for Celtic / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Still, on a night of mostly negatives for Celtic, there is one positive aspect to the game which should not be overlooked.

Only second start of 2020

That is the return of Mohamed Elyounoussi to the Hoops starting line-up. The on loan attacker made his first Celtic start since the Scottish Cup tie against Clyde against Copenhagen.

Unfortunately, he was guilty of missing a great chance to put the Hoops 1-0 ahead in the game. He blazed a shot over the bar when it seemed easier to score.

Mohamed Elyounoussi celebrates scoring for Celtic (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, the fact that Neil Lennon gave Elyounoussi a start in such a high profile game indicates just how important he could be for the Hoops for the rest of the season.

Elyounoussi was very good for Celtic before he suffered a foot injury. That setback kept him out of action for around three months.

Excellent before injury struck

He had established himself in the Celtic side, and managed to score seven goals before the injury derailed his season.

Now that he is fully fit, it will be interesting to see if Neil Lennon manages to find a place for Elyounoussi in the team going forward.

The fact that he started against Copenhagen indicates that Elyounoussi won’t be far away from the starting line-up when it comes to big games for the rest of the season.

That could include Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie with St Johnstone, which is now the Hoops’ biggest game of the season.

Elyounoussi could well be the man to help the Hoops progress to a Hampden Park semi-final.

Can Elyounoussi drive Celtic onto the treble? How important will he be for the Hoops going forward? Share your thoughts below with a comment in our new discussion forum…