Celtic manager Neil Lennon has confirmed that the club have been given a double fitness boost. As reported by Celtic’s official Twitter account, Lennon told a press conference that Hatem Abd Elhamed and Jozo Simunovic were in contention.
The Bhoys host CFR Cluj tonight in the Champions League qualifying round. The tie is in the balance after Celtic managed a 1-1 draw in Romania last week. Ahead of the game, Lennon has been given some extra options in defence.
Ahead of the game, Lennon said: “Everyone’s fully fit. Hatem and Jozo will come back into the squad now after the weekend so those two will be back in contention.”
Who should line up against Cluj?
Elhamed and Simunovic were both missing last weekend as Celtic beat Motherwell 5-2 at Fir Park. Lennon was forced into naming a makeshift back four, who conceded two goals.
Christopher Jullien, the summer signing from Toulouse, started in central defence alongside Nir Bitton – whose primary position is central midfield. Then, Kristoffer Ajer – a natural centre-half – was deployed at right-back, although he won man of the match and scored a goal.
Lennon now has a decision to make. Does he rush Elhamed and Simunovic back into the side? And if so, who drops out. The obvious choice is Simunovic for Bitton in central defence.
But then Lennon needs to choose whether to partner Simunovic with Ajer or Jullien. If Ajer and Simunovic start at centre-back, then Elhamed comes in at right-back. Lennon will be pleased to have this selection dilemma after last weekend’s depleted options.