The two Celtic sides that could win the league as Lennon faces happy ‘problem’

As the transfer window closes, Neil Lennon can now well and truly put his own mark on the Celtic team.

Having stepped into the breach in February, Lennon seemed somewhat caught between a rock and a hard place. Hoping to get his own ideas across, but with a group of players hardwired into Brendan Rodgers’ tactics and methods.

The goals dried up but the league and the cup were duly delivered. With the departures of around 13 players, some more critical than others, the squad has been completely revamped with a raft of new faces and the team will now carry Lennon’s stamp.

Indeed, we could put out two separate sides and still have a fair shout of beating most domestic opposition as we bid for a ninth title.

The return of Wanyama, or a player of that ilk, would have been the icing on the cake, but Celtic now have a strong looking squad. And with Ntcham not leaving, if he remains on his game and rediscovers his consistency and desire, then he’s as good a player as Celtic could hope to sign.

The great thing is there’s now competition for every place. Here’s how Celtic’s two teams could run out over the course of the season, assuming everyone is free from injury.

…………………. Forster …………………
Elhamed Ajer Jullien Taylor
Forrest Brown  McGregor  Elyounossi
………………. Christie   …………………
………………… Edouard …………………

The good thing is that while players from the “second” team could and will fit seamlessly into the “first” eleven, there’s the added versatility of players such as Elhamed, Bolingoli, McGregor, Christie and Forrest that would allow for formations to easily change throughout the course of the match.

………………… Bain …………………
Bauer  Bitton Simunovic  Bolingoli
Shved  Rogic Ntcham Johnston  
………………… Bayo Griffiths    …………………

Not forgetting goalscoring winger Sinclair, Craig Gordon, Ibrox hero Hayes, plus Kouassi, Morgan and Arzani. The best days of some of these may be considered to be behind them (although it’s always risky to write players off) while others speak more of potential.

The good thing is we now will have a good bench. Too many times we looked at our options and there was nothing there.

This was particularly true for the back line, where a look towards the dugout would reveal we had no defenders there at all.

We also have an emerging crop of youngsters that might find themselves introduced in certain games. These include Dembele and Okoflex, as well as new signings Connell, Frimpong and O’Connor, with maybe some more ready to be chapping at the door than others.

First-team squad members unlikely to get a look in include Jack Hendry and Calvin Miller, who both appeared to be heading out the door over the weekend.

Neil Lennon now has a problem, as he ponders his best selection and formation. But it’s a long, hard season, hopefully with runs in the cups to factor in, so there should be opportunities to ensure players like Brown are used wisely, while others like McGregor don’t face the same punishing schedule as last season.

It’s the kind of problem, though, that managers love to have.

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