Chris Sutton appears to be unhappy with Neil Lennon’s decision ahead of Celtic’s Scottish Cup final against Hearts on Sunday.
After a disastrous run of form that saw them win just two of twelve games, Celtic have managed to steady the ship a bit over the last week. Their 3-2 win against a very strong Lille side was unexpected and surely brought some confidence back into the side. And then the 2-0 win over Kilmarnock gave them 3 very important points in the Premiership as they continue to chase the Rangers.
The biggest reason for this turnaround was the shakeup that Neil Lennon finally made to his line up after sticking with underperforming players for months. Both David Turnbull and Ismaila Soro have been absolutely brilliant since coming in. While Conor Hazard has also performed better than Scott Bain and Vasilis Barkas.
You’d expect the manager to stick with something that is finally working. So it would have come as a surprise when he hinted that he was going to bring back the ‘old guard’ for the Scottish Cup final against Hearts.
“I don’t agree with Neil in his assessment about being loyal. There’s no room for sentiment at this moment in time for the Celtic team. It’s about winning. It’s about building momentum.
“No way am I suggesting that Scott Brown is finished. But what message does it send out when you go into a Cup Final and you’re not playing the players who deserve to be in the team on merit? Soro deserves to be in the team on merit of his last performances, and so does Turnbull.”
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Most Celtic fans would agree with Sutton in this regard. There is no point for sentiment on Sunday. Especially considering the kind of form that the team have been in recently. A loss in the Final could suck out even the last drop of confidence that some of these players have left in themselves.
Both Turnbull and Soro have performed admirably in the last two games. But Lennon’s comments suggest that Scott Brown will be back on Sunday. Unfortunately though, Broony has not looked like the same player this season. And it would be mistake to start him in such an important game when there are players in better form sitting on the bench.
Is this really a surprise though when you think about it? One of the biggest complaints that fans have had about Lennon is his stubbornness and his refusal to change his ways. He is known to stick with players he trusts even when they are not performing. And that could be exactly what happens in the Scottish Cup final.