Neil Lennon hints in-form Celtic star won’t start vs Lille

Neil Lennon has hinted that the in-form Celtic star will not be in the starting XI when they take on Lille in the Europa League.

The last few weeks have been an absolute disaster for Celtic. While it has always looked that the team had not quite gelled together this season, at least the results had gone their way until the most recent international break.

Things changed drastically after that though as a number of players were ruled out due to either testing positive or coming in contact with people who had. As a result, the squad was left significantly weakened.

The Hoops have played three matches since then and are winless, losing two and drawing one. And that run might continue tonight as they come up against an in-form Lille side.

One of the rare bright spots from this bad patch of form has been Tom Rogic. The Australian has been one of the few players who has displayed some form. But Neil Lennon has hinted that he won’t start against the French side on Thursday.

While speaking with Celtic TV, the manager said:

“That was Tom’s first start (vs Aberdeen). It’s not a question of his mindset. He’s had ankle and knee problems. He was seeing a specialist yesterday (Tuesday) and the specialist was pleased with how the ankle responded after he played 85 minutes at the weekend.

“It might be a push to ask him to start three games in a week so soon, but I think he’s a wonderful player. I think he adds just that little bit of difference to the team, that little bit of creativity at times.

“He’s such a smart player. It would be great to get a run of games out of him.”

Owing to his continuous injuries, the Australian midfielder has not been a part of first-team plans at Celtic for quite some time now. As a result, he looked very close to leaving the club for good earlier in the summer when a bid came in from Qatar. But ultimately the move fell through and perhaps was a good bit of luck for the Hoops.

Rogic provided two assists against Aberdeen on Sunday and had a hand in the third one as well. He is just someone who brings in some creativity into this team, something that they have lacked through the course of the season.

On his day, there is no doubt that he is a top class player. His long history of injuries though means that Lennon has to use him smartly. Otherwise he might just pick up another long-term injury which will leave the manager scrambling for a replacement.