Celtic have arrived in Rome without four key players as Lennon reveals to various media outlets as the Scottish Champions prepare a grudge match against Lazio.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon must have a few tactical tricks up his sleeve as some Celtic fans are wondering who is going to start, with key players such as Rogic, Johnston, Bolingoli and Griffiths all not able to make the trip it reduces the Celtic bench harshly.
Boli Bolingoli was probably the only one out of the four that was a definite starter but the rest not going will reduce the class of the subs bench significantly, Good news for fans is that utility man Hayes will most likely start at left back unless Lennon has faith in new Bhoy Taylor in such an important game.
The biggest shock to most Celtic fans will be that Sinclair will at least be on the bench with Elyounoussi starting as the winger has been on top form these last games.
Other than that the squad should resume as normal and if Lennon is going with Experience then is should be Elhamed at right back for a more solid defence, we can expect Celtic to play the typical counter attack as a point in Rome at the least will be vital for the Hoops Europa Group push.
Reaching the knockout rounds of the competition for the third year running is within touching distance for the Parkhead club, who are a point clear at the top of Group E after three games, following their draw with Rennes away and wins over Cluj and Lazio at home.
If the Hoops prevail on Italian soil for the first time in their entire history in the Stadio Olimpico this evening and Cluj defeat Rennes in Romania they will progress to the last 32 with two matches to spare.
This meeting with Simone Inzaghi’s side, however, is the most difficult Neil Lennon’s team have faced to date in their campaign by a distance.
Celtic’s hosts are smarting from their agonising 2-1 defeat in Glasgow a fortnight ago, when a late Christopher Jullien goal coupled with two exceptional Fraser Forester saves, denied them a result. They will be hell bent on avenging that reverse and keeping alive their qualification chances.
“It’s the stiffest test of the group, there’s no question of that,” he said. “We’re in Italy and our record here, as people keep reminding me, isn’t great. Records are there to be changed and to be broken. We are in good form, but we know it’s going to be a big ask.
“But we have been looking forward to this game for a while now. It’s a great challenge for us and for the players. These are the games we want. We relish it and I think the players are excited about it and with the form we’re in we go into it with a certain amount of confidence as well. We know it’ll take a lot of energy and good application and no shortage of quality.
“We have good experience. We have international players, we have players who have played Champions League and players who have played at a high level and there’s good blend of youth and experience there. I don’t think they will be fazed by it.
“But we know it’s a real quality side who are on form. We turned them over in Glasgow so they will maybe want to right that. We will be ready. I think the players have prepared well for this one. I just hope we will be strong.
“We have had a lot of nice things said about us over the last few weeks from different sections of the footballing world, but it’s important we maintain our standards and don’t get carried away with anything.”
“We’re going to bring a big crowd out with us which is great,” he said. “Celtic fans are always optimistic no matter who we play. We are here to be professional and play as hard and tough as we can and hope we can come out the right side of it.”