NEIL Lennon has been urged to pitch teenage sensation Jeremie Frimpong into his first Old Firm game in the Betfred Cup final against Rangers at Hampden tomorrow despite his lack of experience in the world-famous fixture.

Lennon has several big calls to make when he decides his starting line-up this weekend. Nowhere more so than at right back. Does he trust Frimpong to cope with the occasion in the absence of Hatem Elhamed? Or does he put his faith in Moritz Bauer?

Dutch defender Frimpong, a £350,000 signing from Manchester City in the summer, has been sensational for the Scottish champions during the 2019/20 campaign and has become a firm fans’ favourite.

However, the 5ft 7in 18-year-old has only played eight games of senior football in his career to date and it will be a gamble playing him in direct opposition to £7 million Rangers winger Ryan Kent.

Lennon started Moritz Bauer in the Ladbrokes Premiership match against Hamilton at Parkhead on Wednesday night and could be tempted to go with the more seasoned Austrian internationalist.

But Simon Donnelly, the former Celtic forward who won the League Cup back in 1997, believes the skilful youngster suits his manager’s attacking style of play and hopes he is handed his debut in the Glasgow derby.

“Jeremie Frimpong has come in at right back and Neil’s had the bravery to play him,” he said. “He watches him in training day in and day out so knows what the wee guy can do and he’s been a revelation.

“Frimpong doesn’t seem to have taken that long to adapt at all and I believe he’s going be a fantastic player. He could play anywhere on the right side and that includes as a winger.

“You don’t want to bring players in who are going to be ready in two years’ time. Neil has the courage to blood the youth and someone like Frimpong I believe will play in the final as the boy has the jersey.

“Everyone has questioned his defensive duties, but I don’t think he’ll be found out. People talk about his height, but you look at Dennis Irwin and Patrice Evra and they didn’t have a problem. Celtic more often than not have the ball so that’ll suit his play.”

Many Celtic supporters were against Lennon being appointed manager for a second time in May despite the fact he had taken over from Brendan Rodgers in difficult circumstances in February and led the Parkhead club to their third consecutive domestic treble.

The Northern Irishman has more than justified his appointment since by taking his side to the top of the Premiership and then into the knockout rounds of the Europa League.

Donnelly, who was a member of the Tommy Burns’ team that was renowned for its attractive style of play in the 1990s, has enjoyed the football his old club have produced in recent months as a result of changes Lennon has made.

“I think there are comparisons to Tommy’s team,” he said. “Celtic have been very entertaining this season and I’ve covered most of the games at Celtic Park.

“This season has been really good to watch so far with a lot of exciting football and lots of goals. It’s been about attacking football and it’s a bit different to Brendan Rodgers’ style.

“He wanted to build more slowly from the back. Neil has said himself, that without being more long ball, he’s trying to be a bit more direct in the play which I quite like.

“The Celtic side I played in under Tommy was a joy to play in alongside some really good players, but the current side is exciting to watch.

“Football has changed over the years. I think it’s still the same game, but there are different things which have come in. One of them has been playing out from the back with the keeper starting it and central defenders taking it inside the box, but the opposition goal is still at the other end of the pitch.

“It’s a game which is about trying to score goals and I just think that’s been brought into the Celtic team a bit more under Neil.

“You obviously can’t knock what Brendan achieved but I like Neil’s style of play, it’s been an increased focus on the directness and the creativity. That was there before, but it’s exciting to watch.”

Donnelly added: “When Lenny got the job there was a split between those who felt he should and shouldn’t have got it.

“In my opinion, he’d been over the course as a player so knows what it takes to be a Celtic player and he knows what it takes to be a Celtic manager. I always felt he was a safe pair of hands and his experience will be invaluable going forward.

“He’s been through it himself, he’ll be able to relate that to his players and I think that’s going to be crucial. They say he’s old school and I don’t like that phrase, but he’s been over the course.

“He knows what it takes and knows what Celtic is all about and Tommy Burns was the same. That will stand him in good stead.”