Dedryck Boyata has come back into the fold and now played five games since not getting a move this summer.
The Belgian was subject to a banner from the Green Brigade saying he wasn’t fit to wear the jersey after weeks of speculation around his future.
Boyata refused to play in Celtic’s Champions League qualifiers due to’injury’ with the manager completely refuting injury claims by his defender.
The defender’s agent then stormed into Lennoxtown demanding to speak to Brendan Rodgers the day before a vital game against Hearts which the bhoys went on to lose.
Celtic were not going to be bullied by Boyata’s agent. Rodgers would then go onto lose Moussa Dembele who went further than Boyata by calling out the club and manager publicly. At the time, the Irishman spoke about the Dembele situation and said it was not ‘retrievable.’
Rodgers believed Boyata’s situation was and opted to keep the player at Celtic Park even though he is in the last year of his deal.
Right now, it looks like a very shrewd decision by the Celtic boss. since bringing Boyata back into his side they have not lost a single goal.
- Celtic 1-0 Hamilton (Boyata scored winning goal)
- Celtic 3-0 Suduva
- Celtic 1-0 Rangers*
- St Mirren 0-0 Celtic
- Celtic 1-0 Rosenborg
In the previous five games before the Belgians return – Celtic shipped six goals.
Their last clean sheet without Boyata coming against Rosenborg away from home.
Added to the fact the defender had the wherewithal to stay up front last night to make the vital knockdown assist for Griffiths – he’s having a very good spell at the minute.
There is no doubt Boyata has come in and steadied Celtic defence when many were all too happy to say he was so below par it didn’t matter if Celtic sold him
Brendan Rodgers knew that it mattered and while Celtic have not been flying on all cylinders in the final third, the defence seems to be assured.
Ajer will now find it difficult to get back into the team with both Boyata and Benkovic looking like a fantastic centre pairing against Rosenborg on Thursday.
With so many games though, the manager should still hopefully give the Norweigan ample time as he has done nothing to warrant an extended length of time on the bench.
I praise the Belgian international knowing full well he has still not signed a contract and looks unlikely to do so.
Celtic and Rodgers look like they know where he stands, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving his all for the club and playing to the best of his ability.
In an ideal world, Celtic would have a replacement lined up for Boyata in January, but we have learned from the summer that isn’t a guarantee.
As long as Boyata continues to help shut out opponents before he makes his Parkhead exit, then we can’t grumble too much. Can we?