Exclusive: Top pundit left 'Baffled' by Celtic decision that will haunt Lennon
Frank McAvennie was “baffled” at Neil Lennon’s inexplicable decision to play Ryan Christie as a makeshift striker as Celtic made a shock exit from the Champions League.
The former Hoops and St Mirren forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, could not understand why two strikers were left on the bench with Christie, who “cannot play up front”, leading the line.
The Bhoys failed to qualify for the Champions League group stages for the third successive season after they lost 2-1 to Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros.
Lennon was widely criticised for his decision to play no recognised striker with Odsonne Edouard ruled out of the crunch clash earlier in the week.
Christie, who is a midfielder by trade, was chosen to lead the line while Patryk Klimala and new signing Albian Ajeti watched on from the bench.
When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of last night’s team selection, McAvennie said Lennon’s decision will haunt him.
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“I do not understand why he has got two strikers on the bench but they have not started,” the pundit said.
“I am a striker and being a striker is not only about scoring goals. It is about leading the line and bringing people into play. Ryan Christie cannot do that, that is not in his makeup. He is not a centre-forward. He can score goals and is a wonderful player but he is not a centre-forward. I thought they missed that.
“Centre-forwards need to hold the ball up. Ryan cannot lead the line. I know Lenny says you can play him anywhere but you cannot play him up front. It is not Ryan’s fault. He must have thought, ‘Why am I up front when there is two strikers on the bench?’
“It is a strange one and only Lenny can answer that but I was baffled. I do not understand why he has done it.”
In other Celtic news, Frank McAvennie wowed as Hoops enter talks over marquee deal.