Who will Celtic's right-back man be vs Rangers?

By David Walton

December 5, 2019

Neil Lennon most certainly has a real right-back dilemma on his hands ahead of Sunday’s Betfred Cup final clash against Rangers.

Both Moritz Bauer and Jeremie Frimpong are available to play in the position with Hatem Abd Elhamed still sidelined. In an ideal world, the Israeli would be fit after a string of solid displays that included an efficient performance at Ibrox back in September.

But we have to play with the hand we’ve been dealt with. For many, Frimpong will read as the likely first-choice for Sunday. After all, he’s played in Celtic’s bigger fixtures since Elhamed’s injury. Appearances against the likes of Ross County, Aberdeen, and Hibs in recent weeks suggests he could be Lennon’s go-to man.

Neil Lennon has put an impressive level of faith in Jeremie Frimpong recently (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Yet Lenny decided to give Moritz Bauer a 90-minute outing against Hamilton last night. That could read to him potentially getting the nod at the weekend considering Lennon felt the need to give Bauer minutes.

In a way, he could be the more ideal choice too. Sure, he doesn’t have the same attacking threat as Frimpong. However, he showed real competence at Ibrox in his 25-minute second-half cameo.

Bauer’s big-game experience or Frimpong’s energy and enthusiasm?

He had a huge job to do in Govan considering we were protecting a 1-0 lead at the time. Bauer has a history of big-game experience, playing at venues such as Old Trafford, the Emirates, and Anfield to name a few. He isn’t inexperienced when it comes to the big occasion.

Would Moritz Bauer be the more reliable choice? (Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, it could be wise to protect Frimpong from a game of this calibre. It’s important to remember that he’s only 18. If he was, heaven forbid, to have a poor outing, it could be an extremely difficult match for him to recover from.

Lennon may, therefore, feel the need to protect him from that kind of environment. Then again, considering he played in the semi-final and has also experienced Pittodrie in recent weeks too, you could also argue that he needs to be tested at this level.

Frimpong is also clearly a more positive player than Bauer. If Lennon was to select him, it would show an intent to seriously get at Rangers down the right side. With potentially him and James Forrest attacking Borna Barisic, you would fancy Celtic to get some joy there.

The signs point to Frimpong getting the nod (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

This is one selection that really is up in the air for Sunday. There are pros and cons to both men starting. The excitable Frimpong or the reliable Bauer? It’s a decision that could in itself hint at our mentality heading into the game.

The general fans’ choice seems to be Frimpong, but will it be Lenny’s come kick-off?