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Why Lennon must stick with the defence

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Celtic huddle newsThat horrible result at Ibrox and the way the fixtures have fallen means that Rangers could be ten points ahead of Celtic by the time we travel to play Hearts on Sunday, admittedly having played two games more.

If this worst case scenario was to happen, it would make the Hearts game yet another “must-win game”. With this in mind, and given the difficulties we have had at Tynecastle in recent years, how should Neil Lennon approach the Udinese game?

Like all Celtic fans I want to see us win every game and in order to do so we generally have to field our strongest team. However, given the importance of winning the league title this year for obvious reasons (I know this is said every year), should Neil Lennon be using his fringe players in the Europa League and keeping his more established players for the rigours of an away match against Hearts and other league fixtures?

As much as I hate to lose any game, if I had to chose one of the two, I’d personally rather lose to Udinese than Hearts.

The size of our squad has been a major talking point in recent months. So, is it time for some of these fringe players to be given the chance to a) prove themselves and b) put some pressure on those who may be feeling comfortable in their position?

I would make changes but I’d keep the defence together. As weak as they appear at times, we have very little depth through injuries and therefore our hope is that these players become used to each other and learn to trust in each other. As El Kaddouri is cup-tied for the Europa league, could we feasibly field these teams over the two games:

v Udinese: Forster, Matthews, Loovens, Dan, Mulgrew; Paddy, Wanyama, Ki, Commons, Bangura, Samaras

v Hearts: Forster, Matthews, Loovens, Mulgrew, El Kaddouri, Forrest, Kayal, Ledley, Commons, Stokes, Hooper

Unless of course, some of the players v Udinese make themselves ‘undroppable’.

As I type this, it seems too drastic and dangerous so I’d like your thoughts on where the balance lies: strongest team in every game? a few changes but not too many? teams like the ones above?

Can we trust our current squad enough to rotate the team through this busy few months we face? Who would you pick for these games?

NL will clearly have big decisions to make. I feel Rangers are happy enough to be out of the League Cup, their thin squad can focus on the league for the next few months while we play a number of Thursday-Sunday combinations as well as a League Cup quarter final at Easter Road.

It is imperative that we don’t allow them to build a bigger lead than they already have. I just hope that whatever players pull on the Hoops, they realise they are living the dream of millions and give 100%.

Here’s to two great results irrespective of the teams chosen by NL.

CLICK HERE for Neil Lennon and players praise the Green Brigade

CLICK HERE   for Norwegian scores with 50 yard header

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5 comments
  • Joe McHugh says:

    After the Hearts game Celtic don’t play for 13 days.

    We know they will be totally different but last week Hearts lost 2-0 at St Johnstone on the back of losing at Ayr in the League Cup.

    We should be able to give it everything against Udinese and Hearts then most of the players have the international break.

    With the exception of Gary Hooper who is essential against Hearts- and who may not see much of the ball v Udinese- I’d play the strongest team against Udinese.

    The league is more important but I’d hate to see Celtic treating European matches lightly.

  • Andy Mac says:

    I agree in many ways, we should be using some of these games to give players like Bangura a run in the team.

    He has barely lifted his bum of the bench since his move(which was top dollar for us) If he plays well it gives Hooper and Stokes extra motivation.

    At the same time I would hate to think playing weakened teams in Europe might put off the forever faithful army of supporters from travelling to away fixtures in Europe.

  • Patrick27 says:

    I would play first team in both games, they’re professional athletes two games in four days isn’t going to majorly affect them, especially as no travelling is involved

    Team for Udinese
    Forster; Wilson, Loovens, Mulgrew, Matthews; Forrest, Kayal, Ki, Ledley; Bangura, Hooper

    Team for Hearts
    Forster; Wilson, Loovens, Mulgrew, El Khaddouri; Forrest, Kayal, Ki, Ledley; Hooper, Stokes

    HH

  • STEVIEC says:

    Lets just play our own game let the opposition worry about us, at times i feel Lenny worries to much about the opposition and changes our formation.

    Just like a forward pairing the center backs need to form a partnership so Mulgrew and Majstorovic for me,unfortunately K Wilson is a long term injury, so go with them and stick with them give them a chance to bond.

    Don’t read or listen to the Scottish media in any format because they have an agenda and it ain’t to the benefit of Celtic.
    HAIL HAIL.

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