For Neil Lennon, it is now or never at Celtic. For the sake of his job security and for the sake of the club’s future, they have to start winning games sooner rather than later.
They are 23 points behind Rangers in their quest for ten in a row, an achievement that now seems completely out of the realms of possibility.
Thoughts of succeeding in such a quest have become merely a fantasy and they have to improve. Thus, could change be on the cards?
One of Celtic’s biggest underperformers in recent weeks and months has been Ryan Christie.
The winger scored 20 times and provided 16 assists last term but in 2020/21, he has been a shadow of his former self.
Christie has scored just once in his last 16 matches – a peach in the Scottish Cup final – but beyond that strike, he has been a huge disappointment. Coincidentally, it seems to have curtailed with rumours of a move away.
His torrid time was typified in the 2-2 draw with Livingston last time out. He lost possession of the ball all too easily for their opener and then went onto surrender it on a further 16 occasions – the fifth-worst tally of anyone on the Celtic side.
Given Celtic’s current plight, throwing lesser-seen players in at the deep end may be quite harsh.
Yet, they could well have something extra to prove to the manager. After all, if they can’t get a run in the side even when the senior figures are letting Lennon down, there isn’t much hope.
Therefore, we think the Celtic boss should take the surprising decision to axe Christie tonight and start none other than Mikey Johnston.
The 21-year-old has started on just two occasions this term and even with James Forrest out, hasn’t been able to work his way into the side.
Of course, a lengthy injury spell has played havoc with his chances but after playing from the off in two games during the club’s bout of illness, deserves another run in the side.
Johnston hasn’t been a regular with Celtic yet but demonstrated positive signs last season on his way to being described as a “real talent” by Chris Sutton. He scored and assisted on the opening day of the 2019/20 campaign against St Johnston and then earned plaudits after scoring off the bench versus Ross County.
He ended last term with six goals and six assists from only 22 appearances and it’s that potential, combined with a few glimmers in recent weeks that should earn him a start on Tuesday.
With that in mind, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t start against Hamilton tonight. He’s certainly shown better glimpses than Christie in recent weeks.