Celtic manager Neil Lennon was correct to axe Ismaila Soro and start Scott Brown in the Scottish Cup final, says Noel Whelan.
Soro was instrumental in Celtic’s back-to-back wins coming into the Hampden Park thriller won by the Hoops to seal a historic quadruple treble.
The decision to oust the 22-year-old midfielder from the starting lineup was therefore greeted with surprise in some quarters.
But six-time Scottish Cup winner Brown was one of Celtic’s best players before being replaced in extra-time with the scores at 3-2.
Goalscorer Leigh Griffiths said the skipper put in an “unbelievable” performance.
Asked by Football Insider whether Lennon made the right call, Whelan said: “I think you’ve got to go with experience. I think it was a good decision to make. It’s a difficult one, don’t get me wrong.
“But as a manager, you’ve got to make these difficult decisions. Scott Brown, you know he’s a leader out there, he’s one of these players that he’s been at the club a long, long time.
“He’s played in many cup finals. I think you need these sorts of players out on the field when it comes to these sorts of games.
“Despite the fact you’re playing against Hearts that’s a league below you, I think you’ve got to go to tried and trusted.”
Celtic eventually prevailed in the penalty shootout following a 3-3 draw in 120 minutes.
Lennon will now be faced with a dilemma in terms of whether to restore Soro to the starting 11 for Wednesday’s fixture against Ross County.
In other news, Celtic are set to receive a £3.7million European bonus.