Neil Lennon has confirmed that Celtic have been handed a massive double blow heading into their Europa League game against AC Milan.
The mood in the Celtic camp must be terrible this morning after what can only be described as a disastrous display last afternoon against the Rangers in a 2-0 defeat at Parkhead. This was the Hoops first back-to-back home defeats in the Glasgow Derby since March of 1997 when Walter Smith was their manager.
Questions must be raised against both the manager and the players. While it is undeniable that the players showed no urgency on the pitch even when a couple of goals down, the manager has not been able to get the best out of Celtic in the derby for quite some time now. This was the third straight time that they were completely outplayed by Steven Gerrard’s side.
Things are not going to get any easier though as Celtic are set to face AC Milan in the Europa League next. And they could be without two of their players who were thought to have had a chance of featuring against the Rangers even until last afternoon.
Speaking with Celtic’s YouTube channel, Lennon said:
"“Chris Jullien, I doubt very much will be available…maybe Ryan, maybe we’ll have Ryan back, we’ll have to see how it is over the next few days.”"
As reported by The Scottish Sun, he also had some bad news about the availability of Odsonne Edouard:
"“He’s had cardiac and blood tests and we’ll see how he is. He’s not trained for nearly two weeks and only got back on Friday.“We can’t take a chance on anyone’s health and he wasn’t ready anyway. We knew he had no chance but couldn’t say it publicly, I doubt he’ll be okay for Thursday.”"
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While it probably would not have changed the result considering our toothless performance on the day, Celtic clearly missed both Edouard and Jullien on the day.
While Edouard has not been the top of his game this season, there is no doubt that on his day he is the best player in the entire league. And he has already shown how good he can be in the Glasgow Derby. He clearly would have been much more effective than either Klimala or Elyounoussi were yesterday.
On the other hand, while Jullien has gotten his fair share of stick from the fans this season, the Frenchman is a first-team starter and one that could have brought some more solidity to the back. It is arguable that he should be the focal point of the three man defence and not Duffy, because of the Irishman’s lack of passing skills.
Whatever may be the case, let’s just hope that the Hoops can put this performance behind them as soon as possible.