It was a tad concerning for Celtic how two of their most important players, Callum McGregor and James Forrest, didn’t have the best of games in the Betfred Cup Final.
That can also be said about most of their team-mates, to be honest. But those two, who often make Celtic tick, didn’t have much of an impact on the game.
Pair have played 71 games between them this season
Perhaps the number of games the duo have played for club and country this season is catching up on them. James Forrest has played 34 games for club and country this season, whilst McGregor has played 37 games, a total of 71 between them.
Thankfully the Hoops managed to win the cup final, but neither player was at their best. That is why the timing of Celtic’s final Europa League group stage game on Thursday is a good thing.
As Celtic have already won the group, Neil Lennon can afford to take chances in his team selection. Perhaps rest a few players who wouldn’t usually be rested. Forrest and McGregor certainly fit into that category. When fit, they are selected for practically every game.
Players shouldn’t even travel to Cluj
However, there is no need for either player to be involved against Cluj, either from the start or off the bench. In fact, Lennon should go further and keep the players in Glasgow. A rest would do the duo the world of good, ahead of Celtic’s return to action against Hibs on Sunday.
It should be remembered that Celtic still have five games left in December following the match against Cluj. Both Forrest and McGregor will most likely start in all of them.
That is why the opportunity to rest the duo against Cluj must be taken. It would be a mistake on Celtic’s part to use the duo in the game, which is meaningless for the Hoops. It is a chance for squad players to show what they can do, and Neil Lennon should do that.