With their Scottish Premiership title defence lying in tatters, Celtic are in desperate need of hitting the reset button ahead of next season.
That doesn’t mean to say however that this current campaign should be completely written off. Instead, Neil Lennon can bring back some desperately needed excitement and pride by turning towards some of the club’s younger players, not least Stephen Welsh.
The 6 foot 3 centre-back has made five appearances this season, including 84 minutes of the Old Firm clash against Rangers back in mid-October.
At the moment, Lennon seems intent on continuing to stick with the Hoops’ more experienced campaigners, a tactic made all the more baffling given that it’s not producing results – they lie 21 points behind their arch-rivals.
Phasing out the likes of Nir Bitton and Shane Duffy, and instead giving the likes of Welsh some first-team experience ahead of the seasons to come could be vital in their growth and development.
Speaking after his performance against Hibernian earlier this month, Alex McLeish raved: “It does give the supporters a wee bit of respite when they see some good young players coming through, there’s no doubt about that, and Welsh has acquitted himself well.
“He didn’t look out of place the other night and he’s the one for the future – but the Celtic fans are only thinking about the present.”
And after being dropped for the game against Livingston last weekend, plenty of Celtic fans revealed their frustrations behind Lennon’s decision to leave Welsh out of the starting line-up, and instead going with Bitton and Duffy.
It’s time for a fresh start, but Lennon continues to hold the Hoops back by playing those who represent Celtic’s past. Welsh could be the future, and all he needs is an opportunity and a run of consistent games in the Scottish Premiership.