Times Talker: Is now the moment to play kids?

NOT YET says RONNIE CULLY:

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Neil Lennon's Celtic side have opened up a 10-point gap at the top of the table
Neil Lennon's Celtic side have opened up a 10-point gap at the top of the table

WITH a 10-point lead in the SPFL title race before the halfway point has been reached, Celtic already look home and hosed.

However, without Champions League football to sustain interest both within the squad and in the stands, Neil Lennon has to ensure the standards he demands are not allowed to drop.

If they do, they will be vulnerable to a shock Scottish Cup exit because their next opponents, Aberdeen, are more than capable of doing what Morton did in the League Cup.

So it is imperative Lennon continues to pick his best team every week to send out the message that it's 'business as usual'.

If he starts pitching youngsters into the starting XI, it would encourage established players to believe the work is done for this season.

One or two getting bits of games or the odd 90 minutes - such as Darnell Fisher - is fine, but that's enough for now.

GO FOR IT says HUGH MacDONALD:

NEIL LENNON has been given freedom to experiment by the growing gap at the top of the SPFL.

But he cannot be recklessly relaxed as he has to prepare a side for the Champions League qualifiers.

His task is to scrutinise the young talent at his disposal without compromising the team's readiness for the matches that define both a season and the club's bank balance.

But the time is now right to bring in such as Tom Rogic, Bahrudin Atajic, Dylan McGeouch and others in a measured fashion.

These talents can only be assessed after playing in a clutch of first-team matches. Lennon, the ultimate competitor, will be reluctant to place the unbeaten SPFL record in jeopardy but the future has to be addressed before the formality of completing another championship march.

He has to shuffle his cards and find out if he has the young aces who can form a winning hard, particularly at Celtic Park in Europe.

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