Vakoun Issouf Bayo should get his first Celtic start on Saturday

By David Walton

August 14, 2019

Vakoun Issouf Bayo’s fitness has been a troubling aspect of his pre-season so far, but last night he was thrown into the fire due to absolute desperation.

With time getting away from Celtic against Cluj, Neil Lennon turned to the rarely-seen Ivorian. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t see enough of him given the fact he only came on for the final few moments. A few long balls went his way that he couldn’t connect with, but he had next to no time to make an impact.

It’s the first time we’ve actually seen Bayo in nearly two months. His last outing saw him score a last-minute winner in a pre-season friendly at Wiener Sport-Club. Since then, he picked up a knock that he’s been struggling to recover from.

Vakoun Issouf Bayo needs some trust put into him (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Last weekend, Bayo finally returned to the squad for the 5-2 success at Fir Park. He never made an appearance, but it showed he was ready to play once again.

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Therefore, after last night’s cameo, Lennon should give the Ivorian a proper run-out at home to Dunfermline Athletic this Saturday.

The Championship outfit shouldn’t pose any real threat to the Premiership champions. Lennon has the luxury of going with two up top on Saturday due to that minimal threat.

Bayo’s fitness concerns appear to be over

Considering how much effort Odsonne Edouard put into last night, we’re as well resting him for bigger matches to come. And it provides us with the ideal opportunity to finally see a bit of Bayo’s game alongside Leigh Griffiths.

Both men impressed in pre-season, with Griff continuing his goalscoring exploits into competitive action. But it’s Bayo that remains the mystery figure for Celtic supporters. We still don’t have a clear idea of what he offers or how he plays the game. That’s despite the fact he was signed seven months ago.

Bayo should be partnered with Leigh Griffiths this Saturday (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

So what better time than this weekend’s simple-looking visit of Dunfermline to throw him into the mix? We won’t get a more opportune time over the next couple of months to see what he’s all about.

Lenny is as well freshening things up a tad on Saturday. He needs to inject some excitement back into the supporters. If we can see positive performances from the likes of Bayo, Marian Shved, and Christopher Jullien, it would at least provide us with a reason to be optimistic for the weeks ahead.

Neil Lennon has some big decisions to make for Saturday’s visit of Dunfermline Athletic (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Saturday just screams like a day where Bayo should be featured. If he doesn’t, you wonder where the next opportunity for him will come.

Ahead of massive fixtures over the next couple of weeks, it would be ideal for us to see what he’s all about. Here’s hoping Lenny gives him that opportunity come kick-off.