Lennon Has To Ditch The Old Pals Act For Sunday, And Play The Best Possible Team.

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Everyone loves Scott Brown. Club captain, leader, inspiration.

I have no doubt that he is a major player behind the scenes at Celtic, off the pitch as he has always been on it.

But Scott Brown is past his best as a footballer, and the only reason to play him at the weekend is out of sentiment.

It would be rank insanity to be using sentiment to decide who plays in a major cup final, and especially one with this historic significance.

The onus is on the coaching staff to pick the best possible team, and that means dropping the captain and allowing at least one of the younger players to have his day.

I personally would play them both.

We have enough decisions being made at Celtic Park on the basis of sentiment.

We have enough decisions being taken for irrational and wrong-headed reasons. How much more is it going to cost us this season? Lennon has hinted that Soro and Turnbull could be dropped at the weekend so he can put his favourites back in; we will be in real trouble if he does.

Nobody has a “right” to play in a cup final just because they’ve been at the club for years.

Brown’s part in our successes will never be forgotten. Other people have no choice but to gamble with their reputations and risk everything, but Brown does not deserve to be put in the firing line if he plays and we lose on Sunday.

If selected he’ll grab the chance, but if he’s not he’ll understand why.

The good of the team comes first.

Lennon still hasn’t learned anything from our early season travails.

We weren’t playing particularly well on Sunday up until the half time break; doubtless he said a few words to people in the dressing room, and we got the goals we needed, but I think most of us would have preferred the introduction of a second striker. The truth is, we’re nowhere near at our best yet and anything that takes us backwards isn’t welcome … a decision to drop the two players who have played such a big part in our last two victories would be really stupid.

We are top heavy in the central midfield area; I understand that it gives the manager certain selection headaches.

But we need to start transitioning this team to a post-Brown future, and this is as good a time as any to begin doing so.

If you reckon, as many do, that we could lose McGregor, Ntcham and Christie in the summer – which will be a disaster in my view – then we need to start getting Turnbull built in with the bricks as well.

These guys can play. We know that.

There’s no reason not to play them except that Lennon wants to give his pals another winner’s medal. Because playing them every week has worked out well so far, hasn’t it? It’s time we ditched this daft nonsense and focussed on putting the best eleven on the park every week.

We’ve gambled with this season enough.

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