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Lennon hopes Christie can build on Scots success

 

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Celtic ace Ryan Christie

Celtic ace Ryan Christie

Celtic ace Ryan Christie

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was unhappy that Ryan Christie got no rest on Scotland duty.

But he hopes a far more positive international break for Christie and others can help his side build some momentum.

Christie was one of only three Scotland players to start all three games in six days and the 25-year-old only came off in one of them, in the 87th minute.

The attacking midfielder, who scored in Scotland's Euro 2020 play-off win over Serbia, is set to face Hibernian today, but Lennon admits he might have to rest him sooner rather than later.

On the Celtic players in Steve Clarke's Scotland squad, Lennon said: "He didn't rest Ryan. That didn't please me.

"They look okay. There might be a kick-in effect later down the line but they are fit and available to play.

"When you are feeling good about yourself, you want to keep that confident run going, and I think it can only help us rather than hinder us."

When pressed on Christie's situation, Lennon said: "It was three 90 minutes in six days, which is a big ask for any individual.

"Steve tried to balance the squad as best he could, but it looked like he didn't want to play without Ryan.

"I can't be over-critical but we would have liked him to miss some of the games."

When put to him that it was a compliment to Christie that he was used in each game, Lennon said: "He is important to me, he is important to my team, he is important to the club, my squad.

"He is in a good place. He has been up and down a little bit with his consistency and form, like many others, so I am hoping now we will see a real rich seam of form from him."

And Lennon admitted it was a 'nice surprise' to have no fresh injuries from the internationals.

"They are all buoyant, everyone had a touch of success while they were away.

"I'm delighted the players made a massive contribution to the Scotland success. Hopefully we carry that positivity on.

"We finished before the break with a really good performance and a good win (4-1 against Motherwell."

Leigh Griffiths also made his Scotland return after more than two years out.

"Every spell that he plays in games is important," Lennon said. "It's a huge incentive for him, not just playing for Celtic and winning things with us, but also what lies ahead at the end of the season."

Shane Duffy captained Republic of Ireland and played three games, helping keep a clean sheet in their final game against Bulgaria.

"I saw a lot in his performances that showed he is coming back into form," Lennon added.

Belfast Telegraph


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