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‘CELTIC MUST SORT BACK PROBLEMS,’ THOMPSON

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ALAN THOMPSON insists Celtic will have to sort out their back problems if they hope to go make progress at home and abroad.

The former Hoops midfielder believes Brendan Rodgers will work on his priorities as he prepares his team for tomorrow night’s Champions League qualifying crunch against Astana at Parkhead.

Thompson, who also had a two-year stint as Neil Lennon’s assistant at the Hoops, watched his old club as they lost 3-1 in the International Champions Cup to Barcelona in Dublin at the weekend.

He said: “Brendan will probably watch the game again, particularly in the first-half when he fielded his strongest line-up.

“The Celtic manager will be looking at things they can improve on, especially defensively.

“For me, they didn’t defend the space in behind particularly well and they need to take more care with the ball.

“When they go into more competitive games, they can’t afford to give the ball away willy-nilly.

“Ar Barcelona’s first goal, Vidal went past James Forrest far too easily and Scott Brown could have maybe closed the ball down better, he half-turns his back as Turan shoots.

“You want your defenders throwing their bodies at the ball in these situations and possibly taking one where it hurts.”

Thompson, 42, said: “Leigh Griffiths’ goal was a good one from an attacking point of view. The players were pressing the ball and forcing the mistake from Martinez.

“Griffiths and Patrick Roberts were both up and Forrest also arrived. They forced the error and Griffiths had a tap-in.”

Thompson, who won nine trophies at Parkhead including four Premier League titles, also had a word of encouragement for striker Moussa Dembele, who has yet to score since his summer transfer from Fulham.

The current Blackpool first team coach added: “Against Barca, Dembele didn’t show anything and looked short of confidence.

“He needs a goal and the quicker he gets it, the better it will be for him. It will certainly help get the monkey off his back.”



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