The fallout from the recent defeat to Livingston will continue for Celtic this weekend when Ryan Christie serves the first of his two match suspension.
The Scotland international was red carded in the 2-0 West Lothian defeat ten days ago, following a crude challenge midway through the first-half. Neil Lennon’s men were already toiling at that stage but succumbed to defeat following two goals after the interval.
Christie’s presence was missed in the majority of that match and same will ring true in our next two domestic fixtures. So what will Neil Lennon do to counteract the absence of the 24-year-old?
How will Lennon counteract Christie absence this weekend?
The obvious solution would be to play Olivier Ntcham in Christie’s usual advanced role. Lennon has tried to fit the Frenchman in there in the past, often moving Christie out to the left. He has had varied success in doing so but the truth is that we often miss the Scotsman’s bite in the midfield.
The former Aberdeen man may be one of our top attacking outlets but he also works tirelessly defensive and often sets the tempo for the rest of his teammates to follow. Ntcham may be incredibly talented but he doesn’t offer that same desire when out of possession.
There’s an argument that we don’t really need that workhorse at home to Ross County, but Christie will also miss a return to Pittodrie the following week. That is a game when Lennon may feel he has to change things up substantially to avoid us being swamped in the middle of the pitch.
Tom Rogic is another who could replace Christie and you wouldn’t be totally surprised to see him play a part against County on Saturday. But the clash against Aberdeen next week looks an altogether different task.