Former Rangers and Scotland full-back, Alan Hutton, feels that Neil Lennon will shoulder a lot of the responsibility for the Parkhead club’s Europa League exit after a formation change saw them crash out against Copenhagen.
Speaking to Football Insider, the retired Premier League defender couldn’t understand Lennon’s reasoning for dropping such a successful partnership between Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard.
So what has Hutton said?
When asked whether or not he felt that Lennon will have learned from the results over the two legs, he said:
“Yeah, I think so. I have to admit I thought it was a strange one.”
“I understand why he did it, he’s trying to be a bit more safe but when he looks back at it he probably wishes he had stuck to his normal formation.”
“It was very unlike them – defensively they’ve been solid throughout the campaign. I found it strange that he switched to the four, they played so well with three at the back and two up front, to switch to the four, I’m not too sure why.”
So is Hutton correct?
On this occasion, yes, however, in the first-leg Griffiths wasn’t available so Lennon was right to revert to a formation that had served them well both domestically and in the Europa League in the first place. It wasn’t like he enforced an entirely new system onto the players without any notice.
At Parkhead, even with the advantage of the away goal, the Hoops gaffer’s conservatism may have had an impact on thee fluency of the display but he wasn’t directly at fault for the individual mistakes that led to the goals on the night – this wasn’t a problem with formation – it was an issue with concentration.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if Griffiths and Edouard had started they may have scored the goals to dent the Dane’s confidence but there was still enough quality on the park to see off a team that had rarely troubled them in the first-leg.
Who was responsible for Europa League exit?
Lennon will have learned his lesson, as Hutton claims, but he also has enough success in his Celtic career to know that the opinion’s of pundits mean little in his pursuit of continued domestic dominance.