Celtic manager Neil Lennon has given a full update on his squad ahead of tonight’s cup clash, The Daily Record reports. It’s the Scottish League Cup quarter-final and Celtic take on second-tier side Partick Thistle.
Lennon will rotate his squad for this fixture after a heavy schedule of games recently. Celtic played Rennes last Thursday, Kilmarnock on Sunday and there are three more games (including tonight) by next Thursday. Here is the latest squad update from the Bhoys boss.
Celtic players rested
With plenty of games coming up, Lennon has decided to rest five players. Left-back Boli Bolingoli will get a break alongside midfielders Scott Brown, James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie.
Lennon said (via The Daily Record): “Obviously we have to take a steer on games coming up as well, for the likes of (James) Forrest, (Scott) Brown, (Callum) McGregor, (Ryan) Christie, (Boli) Bolingoli, they have all been playing a lot of football.”
Bolingoli’s absence will not allow Greg Taylor to make his debut as he is cup-tied. Jonny Hayes is likely to play at left-back instead. The four midfield absences will give opportunities to fringe players like Tom Rogic, Marian Shved (if fit), Mohamed Elyounoussi and Lewis Morgan.
Gordon kept sharp
Lennon will be resting Fraser Forster and selecting Craig Gordon. The veteran Scotsman will get the nod ahead of Scott Bain – who started the season between the sticks before Forster’s arrival.
As reported by The Daily Record, Lennon said: “Craig (Gordon) will play. He hasn’t done a lot wrong but it’s important he gets games and it’s important that we keep him motivated. If anything were to happen to Fraser and Craig is under-cooked then that would be remiss of me. Not only does he need to play, he deserves to play.”
Forster will remain as the undisputed number one at Parkhead but Lennon is wise to keep his other goalkeepers match-fit. The 36-year-old is an experienced option and will be desperate to prove he’s still capable of playing for Celtic.
Griffiths and Bauer injured
Two players have been ruled out through injury for tonight. Lennon confirmed that striker Leigh Griffiths is not back fit yet and Moritz Bauer is a doubt due to an ankle injury sustained at the weekend. Christopher Jullien, however, is available after an injury scare.
Lennon said (via The Daily Record): “Moritz (Bauer) twisted his ankle so he’ll be a doubt. Christopher Jullien is fine.” With Griffiths out, Odsonne Edouard or Vakoun Issouf Bayo will probably lead the line. Bauer is likely to be rested rather than risked, meaning the defence will be makeshift once again.