The high-flying Celtic were tipped to seek revenge for the last season’s Old Firm humiliation and script an Ibrox win against Covid-hit Rangers. The Bears were without an array of first-team stars who had to self-isolate themselves following an outbreak in the camp. Gary McAllister had decisions to make from the dugout while locking horns with Ange Postecoglou’s men and the former Scotland international came out victorious depicting why they are still the better side despite early jitters.
While the Hoops were more resolute and purposeful compared to previous meetings, they still lack a few things that must be worked upon to avoid further misery. Celtic have been spot on so far in terms of summer signings, but the lack of balance across the pitch might haunt them in close contests similar to the derby outing.
Here, at The 4th Official, we will take a look at three key takeaways for Celtic in their defeat to Rangers this past weekend.
“Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.”
Who does not remember this famous quote from Sir Alex Ferguson? Football has evolved over the years, but his words will remain relevant. Postecoglou has brought the jubilation back overcoming the shambles of the previous term, however, the attacking brand of football has exposed them at the back in spite of adding new faces in the defensive third.
Their defending has been dreadful from set-piece situations, also the exit of Kristoffer Ajer has left a massive void even though they have roped in Carl Starfelt as his successor. The Swedish centre-half reminds the onlookers of Shane Duffy’s horror show compared to Ajer’s composure, also the collective failure in deep defence casts doubts over their credibility in big occasions.
Finding The Correct Approach In The Middle Of The Park
Defence alone is not the problem though as the gaffer still needs to figure out a stable midfield set-up. Deploying a defensive midfielder is what the Bhoys need in such high-profile contests, but the likes of skipper Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, David Turnbull and Tom Rogic are all inclined to attacking the opponents – something that has laid them bare while dealing with counter-attacking threats.
Postecoglou should resolve the conundrum by relying on Ismaila Soro as a ‘number 6’. This would allow McGregor to feature as their chief ball carrier from the deep. Also, the manager might opt for a double pivot of McGregor and James McCarthy by switching to a 4-2-3-1 over 4-3-3.
Right Role For ‘Kyogoal’
Kyogo Furuhashi has to be the man of the moment with his stellar scoring traits. The Japanese came close to finding the net but was denied spectacularly by Robby McCrorie between the sticks. Although he is versatile enough to operate across the frontline, the ‘number 9’ role suits him the most considering the lack of form (or interest?) of wantaway Odsonne Edouard.
He was not influential enough from the left, however, the potential arrival of Filipe Jota should see Furuhashi leading the line in the coming days. Giorgos Giakoumakis would challenge and cover him high up the pitch, whereas Jota’s inclusion is a welcome move despite Ryan Christie and James Forrest impressing as makeshifts. Nevertheless, it’s time to bid adieu to ‘French Eddie’.