Jackie McNamara has suggested that Celtic winger Mohamed Elyounoussi forced Neil Lennon’s hand into bringing him back from injury too early.

The former Hoops and Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the Southampton loanee was likely desperate to play in the Scottish Cup final when he was not fully fit.

Lennon admitted that he brought the 25-year-old back a “little bit early” after his layoff and that it resulted in the same problem flaring up once again.

McNamara says that the manager is not all to be blame, suggesting that the player will have been pushing to try and feature in the showpiece occasion even if he was not fully ready.

“I think that maybe because it was the cup final it wouldn’t have just been the manager, it would have been the player desperate to play,” McNamara told Football Insider.

“I think it will be more a mix, everybody wants to play in cup finals and I think that would have been the case there.

“Obviously they need to make sure that he’s right now.” 

Elyounoussi, who arrived on a season-long loan from Southampton over the summer, started the season brightly for Lennon’s men, with seven goals and six assists in his first 13 appearances.

However, his foot injury has kept him out of action for the last nine league games, the Dutchman lasting just 45 minutes on his comeback in the cup final.

In other Celtic news, Alan Hutton admits his worries after a worrying sight for the Hoops.