Quick links

Celtic

Sinclair should start for Celtic if they want away goal in Russia

Moussa Dembele celebrates his goal with Scott Sinclair during the Betfred Cup Final at Hampden Park on November 26, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Celtic winger has bagged 17 goals so far this season, including six in 11 appearances in Europe.

Scott Sinclair of Celtic reacts during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Ranger at Celtic Park on December 30, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Celtic star Scott Sinclair will have been left extremely frustrated that he was unable to contribute to his team's superb performance against Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League knock-outs last Thursday.

The former Manchester City man was resigned to a spot on the bench, with Brendan Rodgers opting to bring on Charly Musonda and Odsonne Edouard as opposed to the Hoops' top scorer. 

It was an interesting choice by Rodgers to omit Sinclair from the starting line-up and not even use him as a substitute. However, the decision clearly paid off with the Celts snatching a 1-0 victory to take into the second leg this Thursday in Russia. 

The Celts are now in prime position to go through and, if they manage to score a goal, Zenit would have to score three just to have the chance to progress, and who better to have in the side when seeking what could be a vital strike than Scott Sinclair?

Celtic's English midfielder Scott Sinclair attends a training session at the Celtic Training Centre in Lennoxtown, Scotland on December 4, 2017, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League...

Sinclair's revival at Celtic has been quite extraordinary. Things looked to have reached rock bottom for the former Swansea star when he was relegated with Aston Villa after the 2015/2016 season. However, a switch to Celtic to work under Rodgers once again has seen him finally flourish.

The player's second season in Scottish football has been tougher than expected but, having produced magic last time round, the following year was always going to be difficult in terms of backing it up. 

Nevertheless, with 17 goals in all competitions so far, Sinclair remains one of the most important components to the success of the team and should have a huge role to play in St Petersburg on Thursday.

In addition to the fact that he missed the first leg, Sinclair will be itching to get on the pitch to show ex-Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini exactly what he missed out on when he overlooked the England under-21 international during their time at the Etihad. 

Sporting Kansas City goalie Andy Gruenebaum (R) blocks a shot by Manchester City FC Scott Sinclair during an exhibition match at Sporting Park July 23, 2014 in Kansas City, Kansas.  AFP...

Should Celtic progress in the competition, the feeling of victory will be extra sweet for Sinclair given the opposing manager's history. 

Celtic went for a lineup that featured four central midfielders against Zenit in the first leg, but you would think that Rodgers will opt for greater attacking threat down the flanks to help boost their chances of an away goal, before bringing on defensive-minded reinforcements to help protect the lead. 

With the likes of Sinclair and James Forrest in the line-up, the sheer pace alone is enough to trouble any team, as the Hoops demonstrated against Bayern Munich earlier this season, and Manchester City on two occasions previously.

Rodgers' team selection remains to be seen, yet you would imagine Sinclair will have some role to play this Thursday.

 

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch