If you were an opposition manager planning to face Celtic, what would you do? At Ibrox we will meet a team that attacks us, but on all other occasions, we will face a packed defence intent on shutting us out. That’s not all. Every opponent will play for free kicks in the final third and corners, when possible.
It is not difficult to gain possession – then a foul – in wide positions 30 yards from your opponent’s goal. This would be the staging post I’d aim for when facing Celtic. We are winning games but set-piece crosses into the box continue to be poorly defended. We are the football equivalent of a boxer with a big punch and a glass chin.
If I was Dundee United manager Tam Courts, who face Celtic in the Scottish Cup a week today, I would play for penalties. Failure from 12 yards has been a regular feature of Celtic performances for years. It has not cost us a trophy since 2016, but until we improve this crucial part of the game we are asking for a sore one.
Practice, practice, practice. You can be sure Dundee United will this week.