Celtic can't risk Christopher Jullien and Ryan Christie picking up a yellow card v Cluj

By John McGinley

December 11, 2019

Neil Lennon is expected to name a rotated Celtic side for this Thursday’s match away to Cluj in Romania.

Having confirmed our status as group winners in the Europa League, there is nothing on the line for the Hoops when it comes to a result.

With important league matches between now and the end of December, it’s likely a number of his first-team players either drop to the bench or don’t play at all.

We already know Scott Brown has been ruled out because of suspension, after picking up three yellow cards.

Two players that absolutely should not feature, not even from the bench, are Christopher Jullien and Ryan Christie.

Both were Hampden heroes in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday, with the attacker crossing for the Frenchman to fire home against Rangers.

However, UEFA disciplinary regulations (page 45) state that bookings accrued in the group stage are carried into the knockout rounds – although they do expire after the quarter-finals.

The duo have picked up two yellow cards apiece throughout the group stage of the Europa League (Transfermarkt) and another in Romania would rule them out of the first leg of our upcoming knockout clash in 2020.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Leave them at home

It’s best for all concerned that the players don’t even make the trip, with Lennon then not able to have the temptation to use them from the bench or for them to come into the team because of injury.

Whatever happens in Romania, we can handle it without them.

Odsonne Edouard is also in the same boat, but with the manager already confirming that Leigh Griffiths and Vakoun Bayo will be involved, the French striker was set to miss out anyway (The Daily Record).

If Celtic are going to go deeper into this competition, beyond the Round of 32, then we need our best players available. Both Jullien and Christie fall into that category and both could be massive in helping us progress.

Usually, I’d look for them to be two of the first names on the team-sheet, even in a rotated side, but this week I don’t even want to see them on the plane!