“Football expert” (Sky Sports’ description) Charlie Nicholas has made his predictions on the upcoming round of Europa League games and has given his verdict on Celtic v Rennes on Sky Sports.
The Parkhead side currently sit top of their group and have already secured European football after Christmas with two games to go, despite missing Champions League qualification, it still goes down as one of the best performances on the continent since the last time Neil Lennon was in charge.
So what has Nicholas said?
Former Celtic forward Nicholas has back the Hoops to get a 1-0 win but feels Lennon may use the opportunity to rotate his squad:
“Celtic are top of their group and want to win the group but Neil Lennon will make three or four changes nevertheless. They need to keep feeding players game time. I see them winning but it will be a tough one – it is a hard-working night but it is more about game time for some fringe players”.
So is Nicholas right?
Absolutely, in fact, Lennon should rest as many players as possible, European football after Christmas is nice for the bank balance but in a season where winning the league takes priority, important players shouldn’t be risked unless it is absolutely necessary.
Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Ryan Christie all played both games for Scotland in the recent international break and should sit this one out as well as Odsonne Edouard, yes, there is the opportunity to top the group but, again, that isn’t the key aim this season.
Rennes also have nothing to play for which means they will probably field a weaker team, Lennon shouldn’t need his first choice players to get a result.
Nicholas’ 1-0 prediction could be a good bet, if Celtic get their noses in front it could be a night of possession football for the home team with avoiding injury the primary objective.
Should Lennon rest his first choice XI v Rennes?
It is a packed fixture list until the winter break and Lennon should use every opportunity he can get to rest his star men and chances won’t come much better than Thursday night.