Celtic boss Neil Lennon has a number of selection headaches to contend with as Celtic prepare to face Rangers for the first time this season.
The derby meeting on Sunday could see a debut for new right-back Moritz Bauer, while fellow new recruits Christopher Jullien and Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo could also get their first taste of the occasion at Ibrox.
One man who has already tasted the heated Govan atmosphere is Mikey Johnston. The 20-year-old featured in both clashes at the home of our rivals last season – albeit in trying circumstances.
The slight forward was played as a lone striker by Brendan Rodgers back in December while Neil Lennon seemed to fancy him in an advanced wing-back role in the later May meeting.
Johnston’s position in the current Celtic team is far more defined and he is a real contender to start on the left-wing this Sunday. But should Lennon trust him in the Ibrox cauldron?
Lennon may not want to overthink it against Rangers
The winger looks a different player from the man who went missing in both derby clashes last season. Johnston wasn’t helped by either Lennon nor Rodgers yet his performances still left a lot to be desired.
His terrific solo goal against AIK on Thursday night showed what he was all about. Johnston was quick, nimble and supplied a good end product, albeit with the help of the Swedish side’s goalkeeper.
A similar appetite on Sunday could see him cause havoc. Yet there are still some who believe he may be a better impact sub on such an occasion. The winger’s pace is frightening but it could be nullified if Rangers are on top of us. Equally, his tracking back does leave a lot to be desired – especially when Bolingoli is the man behind him.
Rangers are strong on the right with full-back James Tavernier perhaps their best creative outlet. Some feel that Ryan Christie may give the Englishman more to think about in both an attacking and defensive sense. The argument then, however, is that you’re lessening Christie’s impact in the middle.
Lennon should probably trust his gut and go with the team he feels can hurt Rangers most. He paid the penalty for overthinking his team selection in the Cluj debacle. We lost the impact of Callum McGregor in the centre when he was moved to left-back. Lennon may worry the same would happen to Christie.
That could pave the way for Johnston to start again. And what a big opportunity he will have.