Neil Lennon will be tempted to ring the changes for this weekend’s clash against Motherwell – but he must be wary.
The Hoops travel to Lanarkshire for a noon kick-off on Saturday, but eyes will be on the vital Champions League return leg against CFR Cluj on Tuesday night. Given that there are only 80 hours between the two matches, and Celtic have just returned from Romania, Lennon will be forced to freshen things up.
But he also can’t afford to overdo it. While Cluj boss Dan Petrescu is set to rest his entire XI for the league game against Hermannstadt – Celtic don’t have the same luxury. We’re up against an in-form Motherwell side who are likely to pose several problems, especially when on their own turf.
Celtic haven’t won on their past three visits to Fir Park. All three encounters have been drawn with the most recent clash a perfect example of what can go wrong on the road. Celtic dominated the vast majority of the midweek clash in December before being suckered by a late Danny Johnson strike.
It was the kind of game we threw points away in too readily last season. This campaign must be different.
Who will Lennon start against Motherwell?
Lennon does have the advantage of being able to include a number of hungry players from the periphery of the squad. Leigh Griffiths will be a contender to start the match with Odsonne Edouard probably rested ahead of the Cluj clash.
Marian Shved is another who has looked good in fleeting glimpses. He could take the strain off James Forrest while Olivier Ntcham could come into the midfield. Christopher Jullien is another who could do with the gametime at the back.
Lennon must still keep some key men around though. Callum McGregor and Scott Brown are crucial to the way we play on the road. Both players set the tempo and drive for us, while Ryan Christie is another who should start.
Kristoffer Ajer is another that we simply can’t afford to rest.