Hibs v Celtic Preview
As you might have noticed,I’d been banging my own wee personal drum for some time to Lenny to start rotating the squad. Well,he did that on Wednesday night-and it paid off handsomely with some excellent performances from our fringe players. And I think this may have given Neil something of a headache!
Fortunately we have a wee break for internationals-aye,again!-in eight days time so he can ponder his now-widened options then. Meantime,we have three important matches to play,and it is important that he gets it right.
I think it’s a no-brainer that Fraser gets the recall in goals,but who will line up in front of him? I think Christopher Jullien will return to the side and this will give Lenny a number of options. He can return Hatem Elhamed to right back,with Jullien and Kris Ajer central. Or he can retain Jeremie Frimpong at right back and rest either Elhamed or Ajer. That’s assuming Jack Bauer is still injured,of course. If he’s fit,I’d play him.
Frimpong had as good a debut as I can recall from a young defender,btw. Now,it was only Partick Thistle-with respect to them. Lenny may decide to keep him in the side to see how he fares against somewhat better opposition. I wouldn’t disagree with that. Especially if Bauer might benefit from an extra few days.
At left back,difficult. Boli has been settling in well,but Jonny Hayes offers us more in a game like this,IMO. He was excellent in various parts of the pitch on Wednesday. He knows he will never be a first choice,but he certainly deserves to play today. Thursday is another matter,and I’m still undecided on that. It can wait.
In the middle,CalMac must surely get a day off at last! With Broonie,James and Ryan all rested on Wednesday,my crystal ball is telling me that they will all be back today. It’s also telling me that only a choob would think of resting big Ollie while he’s in the mood. With Tom Rogic edging back to form,I can’t see how all five can be accommodated. And that’s before we consider the likes of Michael Johnston,Mohammed Elyounoussi,and Scott Sinclair-who looked very keen on Wednesday night,btw. I can’t see my crystal ball getting this right,so I’ll suggest a midfield of Broonie,Ollie,Tam,Michael and Mo. Leave the right wing for the full back to overlap.
Up front it has to be I Wanna. Vakoun Bayo was immense on Wednesday night but I think he knows the script. I wouldn’t be against him getting the nod,btw,but I’d prefer us to have the game won after an hour and then give him a run out.
All in all,that rotating the squad stuff can really throw up the odd headache-especially when everyone chosen to start has a great game. How do you drop players on the back of a superb performance? Of course,all of the players are professionals and they will know that there are few guarantees in life. And a first team spot every week at Celtic Park isn’t one of them. I can’t imagine any of them throwing their toys out of the pram on the back of not getting the nod today.
One potential problem for the medium term surfaced yesterday with the news that we are unlikely to see Jozo Simunovic again this side of the winter break. Another operation on his knee,one which will hopefully have cleared up his longstanding-sorry!-problem. I think it may be make or break for him. He is a fantastic defender when he is fit but really that isn’t anywhere near often enough. I’m not writing him off for that very reason,so get back to 100%,Jozo. Prove the doubters wrong.
In the meantime,Lenny,I think you are going to have to look at bringing in young Lee O’Connor over the next few weeks. As it stands,you have ONE centre-half in Jullien and another two in Ajer and Elhamed who are capable of performing there instead of their favoured position. Jack Hendry returned on Wednesday night,but I think I’m closer to your medium term plans than he is. Over to you,Lenny.
Meanwhile,its over to the eleven players given the nod today. Off the top of my head,I don’t think BR ever won a league match at Easter Road. In fact,we have dropped league points there far too often over recent years. Put down a marker,Neil. A comfortable victory and then you can ask your old pal Leanne Dumptruck if she’s missing you!
Above article by BMCUWP. We are always on the lookout for articles by our readers and we always publish them. Mail your ridiculous or otherwise opinions to Mahe