Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton reckons Neil Lennon leaving Albian Ajeti out of Thursday night’s match against Riga FC was ‘strange’, writing in his Daily Record column.
The Bhoys managed to progress against the Latvian champions to reach the playoff round of the Europa League but the performance on the night left a lot to be desired.
Lennon’s team huffed and puffed without a breakthrough for nearly 90 minutes before Mohamed Elyounoussi’s class winner.
Stars like Odsonne Edouard weren’t at their best and Sutton believes the tactical system that the manager deployed was the problem.
Writing in his Daily Record column, he explained: “The bigger concern is the system is not playing to Edouard’s strengths.
“You look at the second half of last season with Leigh Griffiths. Edouard looks more comfortable in a two up top but for some reason Celtic went with a 3-4-1-1 the other night.
“Leaving out Albian Ajeti was a strange one for me. He needs games to get fully fit and Riga was an ideal chance to get the two of them on the pitch. Let him get a goal and then give him a break after 60 minutes if necessary. Perhaps the question is if Lennon believes they can play as a pair.
“It does seem Lennon is still working out his best formation and line-up to get the best out of his players.”
I understand where Sutton is coming from here. For me, Edouard is crying out for a strike partner – someone to link up with in tight spaces.
Some have questioned his commitment and attitude in the wake of Thursday’s match but the reality is he was just isolated and surrounded by opponents.
A proper two-striker formation, with a poacher like Ajeti causing trouble in the opposition box, would free the Frenchman up and hopefully allow him to exploit defences.
We know he can do that and can play better than on the Latvian trip.
Lennon clearly has his reasons for recent selections but hopefully we see more of the Ajeti and Edouard combination moving forward, starting tomorrow against Hibernian.