Unexpected Neil Lennon decision ends with no harm done to Celtic

By John Reid

December 13, 2019

Neil Lennon’s team selection for Celtic’s 2-0 loss to Cluj in the Europa League probably went as most people expected.

The Hoops played mostly fringe players, and gave a chance to some young talent at the club. However, one selection decision was perhaps unexpected.

That was the Celtic manager’s decision to start Christopher Jullien. Now, perhaps he wanted to give Jullien a game as a reward for scoring against Rangers in the Betfred Cup Final. Or he felt that the player needed more game time.

Would have missed next Europa game if booked

(Photo by Giampiero Sposito/Getty Images)

The problem with that though, is that had Jullien been booked, then he would have missed the first leg of the last 32 Europa League tie.

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That had to be a worry, as Jullien committed a few fouls in the first-half. The player also wasn’t having the best of games.

Neil Lennon obviously decided that it had been an error in judgement to play Jullien, and replaced him at half-time with Kristoffer Ajer.

Therefore, the decision ended with no harm done, and Jullien will be available to play in the first-leg of the last 32 tie.

Neil Lennon has made very few poor decisions this season, especially in the Europa League. The campaign has been a triumph.

Thankfully move didn’t backfire

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, this could have backfired had Jullien been booked or red carded. Thankfully that didn’t happen. The move to play Jullien and Ajer could perhaps benefit in the end, as it gave both players a chance to play with Nir Bitton for 45 minutes.

That could be important for when Lennon decides to give any of his first choice centre-backs a rest. Bitton will probably start in that game, and it is important that a partnership of sorts is established.

Now that the game is over and done with, most Celtic fans will probably forget all about the Cluj game, and focus on the upcoming league games the Hoops have.