Neil Lennon spoke today on the likely role that Scott Brown will play at Hampden on Sunday, and if you wanted to decipher his words based on your own view on the matter you would have found scope to do so. Talk about non-committal.
There was something for everyone, and nothing for everyone at the same time.
It was a great exercise is saying a lot whilst not actually imparting any serious information.
As a betting men, I’d say Brown will play but actually there was very little to confirm that in what the manager actually said.
“”It’s not as if this is going to be Scott’s swansong if he plays.
Hopefully we can negotiate and maybe try to get to another cup final at the end of the season. He could and maybe should be involved in that as well. There’s been a lot of talk about whether I start him or not or this one, but that’ll be my decision and I’ll make the right decision for the club.”
It’s not a lot, really, is it? I find Lennon’s use of the word “negotiate” a little odd though, and I’d like to know what he meant by that, but of course nobody in the media is going to ask.
If he’s at the point though where he feels he has to “negotiate” with players over whether they play or not I’m pretty worried for how this is all going to spin out.
I don’t think Brown should play, because Turnbull and Soro have acquitted themselves well and we actually won the last two games. It was the old midfield of Brown, McGregor and A.N. Other who played every week and ground our season to a halt.
Where is the incentive for players to do better if they can’t rely on keeping their places in the team?
A lot of people say they understand Lennon’s dilemma here; I don’t understand why he has a dilemma at all.
A manager should pick the very best available footballers, on the basis of form, and all other considerations be damned.
Scott has been a magnificent servant to this club but he has had a poor campaign and this is a chance to start moving us towards life without him. Sentimentality should have no place in this discussion, and especially not for a cup final.
Lennon claims that it won’t.
To me, that’s him laying the groundwork for saying Brown was selected on merit, a claim that won’t stand up to the slightest scrutiny and would spectacularly backfire on the manager if it leads to a defeat.
In a way, I’d rather it was pure sentiment than the idea that Lennon has to run it by people if he wants to leave Brown out.
Either way, we’ll find out the day after tomorrow, and short of leaked team sheets only then.
There is no public information to guide us towards any particular conclusion.