CELTIC’S ‘forgotten man’ Scott Sinclair came in from the cold last night – and demonstrated yet again he has a role to play for Neil Lennon in another crucial campaign.
The Englishman had been overlooked for the past eight match day squads, but came off the substitutes’ bench to score the fifth goal in the holders’ 5-0 Betfred League Cup quarter-final win over Partick Thistle.
Sinclair’s joy at scoring his second goal of the season – his other came in the 3-1 victory over FK Sarajevo in the Champions League qualifier in Bosnia in July – was obvious to the onlookers at Parkhead last night.
And Lennon was just as delighted as the former Chelsea, Swansea City, Manchester City and Aston Villa forward as his strike took the champions’ tally to an impressive half-century this term,
The Irishman, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Scott Sinclair is still very much part of the squad. We have seen a good reaction from him.
“He isn’t a sulker and his body language in training is improving all the time.
“He came on and made a difference, scored and looked strong.”
Amazingly, Sinclair has played only NINETY minutes of first-team competitive football and has started only one match, the 0-0 friendly against Rennes in July.
It looked as though he was on his way in the summer as he went into the final 12 months of his four-year contract after his £4.5million arrival from Villa in August 2016.
Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Derby County and Sunderland were all linked with the 30-year-old winger, but he is still hanging in there hoping to get the chance to show his worth to the Hoops.
Lennon saluted the players who came in against the Jags as he made eight changes from the team that overcame Kilmarnock 3-1 at the weekend.
He added: “It was a fraught transfer window, but we came out the end of it very strong. Some of the players who have been on the fringes are now starting to show their quality. There are a few little bonuses in there as we go along.
“Jonny Hayes has been a real bonus in terms of what he brings in a number of positions. The professionalism of some of them is fantastic.
“I’m delighted and I told the players I am so happy with them. We rested a few and the boys who came in excelled.”
Last night’s triumph over the Jags set up Celtic for a semi-final meeting with Lennon’s old club Hibs at Hampden on November 2/3.