Celtic’s Scottish League Cup tie with Partick Thistle may be Neil Lennon’s last chance for some time to take a couple of selection gambles.
Should the Hoops progress on Wednesday, they will be in the semi-finals of the competition. Meanwhile, they are looking to hold onto their flawless record in the Scottish Premiership and secure a spot in the knockout stages of the Europa League.
They will not be taking Partick lightly. But it is an opportunity for Lennon to make some changes. And perhaps, there has been the slightest hint that one of those changes could involve Daniel Arzani.
Arzani is making his way back towards full fitness almost 11 months after his only appearance for the Hoops’s first-team. The Australian looked bright on his debut for the club, but sustained a long-term injury that has meant that he has been unavailable to Lennon for much of his second stint as manager.
The Manchester City-owned ace is now edging closer to returning to the pitch. And with the attacking midfielder not being involved in the Celtic reserves squad that took on Morton on Tuesday, perhaps there is a chance that his return could come against Partick this week.
Could absence hint at Celtic first-team chance?
There could, of course, be another reason for Arzani’s absence. But the Parkhead faithful would certainly be forgiven for wondering if he could play some part on Wednesday.
There is arguably no better opportunity for Arzani to come back into the fold. Celtic will be overwhelming favourites, and will be looking to kill the tie off as soon as possible.
Should they manage to put one foot in the semi-finals, Lennon may feel he is able to throw Arzani on and give the 20-year-old a chance to shake off any rustiness.
If he is going to play a role for the first-team in the coming months, giving him a chance in their next game could be an incredibly smart move – if Arzani is ready to make his return.