Domestic football is back this weekend! For all the excitement of the international break and the joy and celebrations of Scotland qualifying for Euro 2020, there is no doubt that the league is what we want to see and here’s is hoping Celtic pick up where they left off after the well earned 4-1 win against Motherwell.
But, if you are Neil Lennon and looking at the international performances of his players over the last ten days or so, how do you select your starting eleven? What do you base your decision on? Club or country form?
Lets start with the keeper. With Barkas looking on decent form with Greece and possibly on the verge of winning their Nations League Group, the keepers confidence will have been boosted and he will be ready to pull the Hoops gloves back on.
In the defence, Shane Duffy has endured two losses so far, a 3-0 drubbing against England and a 1-0 defeat to Wales, albeit his performance against the Welsh was much improved than that of his club performances, but no doubt all eyes will be on his game against the Bulgarians tonight. Lennon will be hoping Julien will be closer to full fitness and with Ajer, Bitton and Elhamed all available (if the latter two get through the Israel game unscathed), Duffy could find himself on the bench on Saturday.
Laxalt and Frimpong will be the choices in the wing back positions but clearly this will depend if the Celtic boss chooses to start with three or four at the back. I suspect both will play regardless of the formation as they have both been in good form so far this season.
Celtic’s midfield really takes care of itself. With Christie and McGregor both in excellent form and, so far, injury free they are likely to start against the Hibees. The question for Lennon is will he start with Brown? The captain will be well rested after the break and raring to go so Lennon may well unleash him to keep the middle of the park bolstered. Moi will start on the left but will it be Rogic or N’tcham in the middle of the park to give the Hoops the creative spark?
And here is the million dollar question. Who will lead the line? Edouard had an outstanding international break helping the French youngsters qualify for Euro 2020 whilst he broke the French u21 goal scoring record and his confidence will be extremely high. Is this the spark he needed to ignite his form? Griffiths confidence will be high after his penalty in the shootout against Serbia helped Scotland qualify for the Euro’s and Ajeti, who has a good scoring record so far considering the time he has had on the pitch will also be staking a claim fo a starting position.
It’s a welcome headache for the Parkhead gaffer and he will be hoping that the form his players showed on the international scene will show at Easter Road this weekend.