The confusing career of Scott Allan is set to take another twist, with former mentor Neil Lennon vowing to restore him to Celtic’s first team ahead of his return to Hibernian in the summer.
Allan has played for seven clubs in as many years as he has struggled to fulfil his undoubted potential. His most consistently productive spells, though, have been at Easter Road.
Allan has played no competitive football at all during 2018-19, which prompted him to agree a pre-contract deal with Hibs prior to Brendan Rodgers’ departure.
“I’d like to give him some game time between now and the end of the season but because he’s been short of it I can’t risk him at the minute,” Lennon said.
“There could be a chance of him breaking down. He’s played a few development games but I would like to give him a little run if we can get over the line [in the title race] as quickly as possible but there are no guarantees with that.
“If the opportunity comes along then I’d love to. He’s training well and having a go at it and it’s a difficult position he finds himself in. I would like to give him some game time and a few others as well.”
There was also positive news for other Celtic midfielders. Callum McGregor is expected to return to action against Dundee at Dens Park tomorrow, while Frenchman Olivier Ntcham and Australia’s Tom Rogic are both expected to be available for the visit of Rangers on 31 March, when a home win would effectively secure an eighth successive title for the champions.
Lennon is particularly enthused by the prospect of renewing his acquaintance with Rogic, having signed the 26-year-old from Central Coast Mariners six years ago.
The laid-back Aussie scored four times against Rangers last season and claimed an assist for Ntcham’s winner at Parkhead earlier in the current campaign.
“I’m optimistic that he’ll be able to play against Rangers – and the same applies to Olivier Ntcham as well,” said Lennon. “I think we’ve missed his game-changing ability in the time I’ve been here so far. We’ve missed that maverick kind of player and little bit of creativity.
“Tom can bring that. He’s a big-game player and he’s proved that over the last couple of years. It’ll give everyone a huge lift to have him back involved again. The quality of his play is exceptional and he’s scored some really important goals in big games.
Lennon can also claim part of the credit for Bain becoming Scotland’s first-choice ‘keeper.
“I only spent about a week with him at Hibs but I didn’t want to stop him going to Celtic and the by-product of that was that we got Scott Allan in the door,” he said. “That worked out well for everyone in the end.”