Celtic midfielder Scott Allan’s appearance in the bounce game with Morton comes as quite a surprise.
The former Dundee United and Hibernian man, who’s set to rejoin Hibs at the end of the season, had missed the reserve team’s 3-2 win over Hearts two weeks ago. That came despite playing a big part in the reserves since the turn of the year.
But it appeared as though that would be his only role between now and the end of the season. That was, of course, until Neil Lennon claimed that he wanted to give him game-time before the campaign’s conclusion.
And Allan’s return to the senior squad in the bounce game is a sign that Lennon was serious.
Celtic could easily have thrown in impressive reserve team captain Kerr McIntoy against Morton last Friday. The likes of Armstrong Oko-flex could also have been a shout. To sum up, Allan was given the chance ahead of genuinely talented Celtic youth players who are contracted to the club for the foreseeable future.
Lennon clearly wants Allan’s fitness levels to stay high. Throwing him in with the Celtic seniors is a sign that he could still have a part to play between now and the end of the season.
Are there sympathetic reasons here?
You have to wonder how much guilt Lennon feels over Allan. He always praised him whilst he was the Hibs manager. Then, after signing him up on a pre-contract, he departed the club and found his way to Celtic in hugely ironic fashion.
Allan has no future at Parkhead. That’s been confirmed and can’t be rectified. The contract has been signed with Hibs and that’s that. So surely the likes of McInroy, who’s been a standout all season for the reserves, deserves the opportunity more? There’s no logical reason to put Allan in ahead of him that’s beneficial to the club.
In any case, it’s clear he’s still around first-team affairs. His involvement in this bounce game over the other youth stars prove that.
Celtic lost the game 1-0, but it was all about getting some game-time into players’ legs. The likes of Marvin Compper, Olivier Ntcham, and Jozo Simunovic would’ve appreciated it.
But as for Allan, he’s slowly getting nearer and nearer first-team contention. Is Lennon preparing to play him once the Premiership title is won? Don’t rule it out.