Patryk Klimala’s absence last night was certainly a talking point, but there’s a simple reason for his omission.
The striker, signed from Jagiellonia Bialystok for £3.5million in January (Scottish Sun), wasn’t a part of the matchday squad for yesterday’s 5-0 hammering of Hearts.
It’s the first time since arriving that he hasn’t been part of a matchday 18. In our last seven matches, Klimala has either come on or started in four of them, and has been left as an unused substitute in three (Transfermarkt).
Yet his absence yesterday seemed to spark a talking point. Chris Sutton spoke on BT’s Scottish Football Extra about Klimala (BT Sport 1, 12/02, 19:05), and claimed that there are now doubts over him.
“Of course we don’t know if he’s injured, but the truth is we all watched him at the weekend and there must be doubts. You spend three-and-a-half million pounds and he hasn’t had a run of games, so he’ll need that.
“But I haven’t seen anything just yet – any real positive attributes if I’m honest. He needs a run of games.”
Bayo deserved his spot ahead of Klimala
You have to look at things from the manager’s perspective. Not everything is in black-and-white. The reason Klimala likely wasn’t in the squad is because Vakoun Bayo thoroughly merited his place in the 18 ahead of him.
Bayo came on against Clyde and got himself three goalscoring chances. Granted, he only managed to take one, but his movement was clever throughout his cameo. It’s tough to say as we don’t want to put Klimala in a negative light, but Bayo did more during his short time on the field.
There’s an argument of course that space could’ve been made on the bench for both Bayo and Klimala, but Lennon can’t lose perspective. He needed cover down both flanks in case Greg Taylor or James Forrest picked up a knock. Therefore, having Moritz Bauer and Jonny Hayes in the squad was sensible.
We also have three vital flair players who need more minutes into their legs. Lennon gave Mohamed Elyounoussi, Tom Rogic, and Ryan Christie much-needed game-time last night. That was also more important than just giving Klimala a spot on the bench.
The Polish striker will continue to get opportunities, but there’s no point in pretending that one game outside of the matchday squad is some sort of disaster.
Celtic will look to unearth the talent that they paid for. Of course there are doubts, just like there are with any new signing, but Bayo fully deserved a spot in the squad last night after his Clyde contribution. It’s hardly some sort of crisis for new-bhoy Klimala.