Monday, December 5, 2022

Celtic boss says it’s too early to write off Jullien & Bolingoli

Scottish FootballCeltic boss says it's too early to write off Jullien & Bolingoli
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Celtic gaffer, Neil Lennon, says fan wrote off Teemu Pukki and Van Dijk, Pukki failed to settle in Glasgow and Van Dijk quickly blossomed into a great defender.

He says it will just like Van Dijk it will be a familiar story, and it is far too early to write Jullien and Bolingoli, joined for a combined cost of £10m, off.

Neil Lennon says when he signed Van Dijk and Pukki neither was an instant hit – but look at them now down in England!

“He (Van Dijk) played in Karagandy and then he didn’t play at home in the next one,” he said. “We lost 2-0 in Karagandy then won 3-0 at home. Virgil was on the bench for the second game.

“He (Pukki) did okay, but he was only a young lad then. He’s matured into a top striker now. He had a spell at Brondby. He’s become explosive since then and really kicked on in the last two seasons. He’s an exciting Premier League player now. I doubt very much that many people would have seen that coming. It’s a great story and great for him.

“I’m delighted it’s worked out for Teemu at Norwich, but it shows people often write players off here too quickly. That’s the environment we’re in. It’s almost ‘needs must, get him in and hit the ground running’. Or after three games it’s ‘he’s a dud, get rid of him’. We can’t take that approach, it’s impossible to take that approach.

“Maybe some will come good, maybe some others won’t. Chris is doing fine. Boli is lacking a bit of confidence, but he’s training well so I’m sure there’s more to come from him.”

Lennon added: “Listen, Glasgow is a tough footballing environment. It takes a bit of character and the players are finding that as they go along. I’m certainly not writing them off. Other people can. But its way too early. We work with them, coach them and it’s out responsibility to get the best out of them as well.

“We’re determined to get the best out of the players here and let them enjoy their times here and enjoy their football. They haven’t hit the ground running yet, but we have hopes that they will and that they will come good.

“We have to be patient. Other people aren’t patient and we understand that, we get that. We have to work with them. They are going to play tomorrow and hopefully that will be another step in the right direction for them to show everyone what they are really all about.”

Lennon recalled how he and his then assistant Johan Mjallby very nearly missed out on signing Pukki, who has scored four goals for Norwich in their opening two league games in England, after travelling to Finland to see him in action for his national team.

“Johan and I flew over to Helsinki,” he said. “We went to the Olympic Stadium and there was nobody there. It turned out we’d gone to the wrong city! We had to go back to the airport and hop on another flight to Turku. We ended up catching him for the last half hour of the game. He showed more than enough in that 30 minutes to convince us to take a punt on him.”

Also Neil Lennon wants four new arrivals: “I can’t comment on that, I’m not aware of how much money there is but Peter does what’s best for the club and he always has done, maybe to the detriment of himself sometimes.

“I know he puts the club first and the future of the club, at all times.”

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