Celtic have a healthy 10 point lead over Rangers on the top of the table, and even if things don’t go their way in the upcoming derby, they would still be expected to win the title. However, fans wouldn’t take this ‘ifs buts and maybes’. They would want absolute certainty, and they would want to see Celtic beating Rangers, especially after the Gers got the better of them in the last derby.
Neil Lennon though would need to learn from the mistake which Rodgers made in the last Old Firm clash. Kieran Tierney was unavailable during that time, and it seems likely that he would miss the upcoming derby as well as he is struggling with his recurring hip issue. Tierney isn’t being involved in the international games for Scotland and Lennon might have to look at other options to start in the left back spot.
Rodgers faced the same dilemma in December, and he decided to start Callum McGregor in the left back spot instead of his usual central midfield position. McGregor is at his best when he gets on the ball regularly in the middle of the park, and he can drive the ball forward and find his team-mates with killer passes. However, at left back, he spent most of the game tracking back, and Celtic missed his ability in the middle of the park.
Therefore Lennon should avoid playing his best ball playing midfielder in any other position. So we can expect to see either Emilio Izaguirre or Jonny Hayes occupying the left back spot. Now defensively, both of them wouldn’t give much confidence to the fans but at least this way they will at least have their best midfielder in his natural position.
Izaguirre himself was struggling with injuries, but he has started full training now. He should be available for the upcoming derby. The defender was recently quoted as saying (The Scottish Sun), ”I’ve injured my ankle at the start of March and have been missing since. But I am back in full training now and I feel I am ready to take the next step. I could have called off from playing for my national team because of the injury, but I never say no to them. And it will be a help for me if I get some game time.”
The Honduran international is in the final few months of his contract, and he would probably be the best bet to start if Tierney continues to be unavailable. Obviously the Hoops faithful and Lennon would want to see the Scottish left-back recovering in time for this big clash.