Neil Lennon confirmed on Thursday that he is likely to give some fringe players game time when Hearts come calling to Celtic Park this weekend. The Northern Irishman told the official Celtic YouTube page that he would consider mixing his side up in order to keep crucial first team players fit ahead of next week’s Scottish Cup final.
Lennon said: “We’ve got a couple of boys who are carrying knocks and they have been for quite a while so we don’t feel the need to risk any of them with the cup final looming.”
The Celtic boss has clearly realised that an already depleted squad can’t afford any more injuries. One such area where Celtic are stretched is at centre-back. Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic have started each of the last seven matches together but they may not be risked on Sunday.
That could pave the way for £13million Filip Benkovic to make his final appearance. The 21-year-old arrived as a late loan signing from Leicester during the summer transfer window. He’s featured 26 times for the club all in and netted two goals.
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The defender is probably cursing a bizarre leg injury picked up in a game in late January. He returned in mid March but has played just 100 minutes under Neil Lennon since.
The Daily Record reports that Benkovic would like to return to Celtic next season but with the whole club’s future currently in the balance, any deal seems a bit away yet.
Benkovic was an important part of the team in the first-half of the season as they sealed the Betfred Cup and made the last 32 of the Europa League.
Maybe we’ll see him in the Hoops again one day but for now it looks like goodbye. Hopefully the fans will get the chance to show their appreciation this Sunday.