Five in open battle for central defensive places


After the dust settled on Sunday’s game I considered the four central defenders we fielded.  Acknowledging his poor performance, Brendan Rodgers reminded us Dedryck Boyata was just back from injury and will improve.  Jozo Simunovic coasted through the game but got drawn into the spate of off the ball acts which was a feature of the game.

Kris Ajar (19) continued his excellent recent form, while Jack Hendry (22) didn’t miss a beat when introduced after Jozo’s red card.  There will be tougher challenges ahead, but these two are more than comfortable at this level and have a genuine claim to a starting place at Hampden.

The Morton game a week earlier gave Marvin Compper an opportunity to show how match-fit he is – not sufficiently, was the outcome.  Marvin is at the club to bring experience and stability to the defensive line.  Our four games before the split are all against lower half of the league opposition.  The German international must be given plenty of game time in the coming month.

What our central defence will look like for the qualifiers remains an open book.  All five players discussed above are under consideration.  I expect comings and goings throughout the window in this area too.  Brendan will expect Marvin to play a significant part, but it will be a battle for all of them; which is a good thing.

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    It’s good to be a Tim. Thanks,Dad. And,from previous article,thanks also to the likes of CORKCELT.

  2. traditionalist88 on

    Parkheadcumsalford on 13th March 2018 11:49 am



    So the celebratory mood on CQN has been successfully put on the back burner.





    Not really – we scored three excellent goals, and we have identified a weakness or two which if corrected will allow us to become even stronger.



    I’m sure you too remember the days we had so many weaknesses we didn’t know where to start (or even what our strengths were!). Now…its staring us in the face. Talking about it is healthy.



    I think the least our forward players deserve is knowing there is a secure defence behind them. And certainly guys like KT and Ajer, who have done remarkably without much defensive leadership, to the point where they have assumed that mantle themselves!






    Imagine what we’d be capable of if we cut out the unforced errors and retained the ball a bit better.




  3. traditionalist88 on

    Brendan Rodgers reminded us Dedryck Boyata was just back from injury and will improve.





    He got injured on 3rd February, ironically trying to retain the ball after an unforced error from himself – he wasn’t out for months.



    The problem is with the players concentration and composure – it is ingrained I am afraid.



    I suspect BR knows this.




  4. glendalystonsils on

    Whit’s the goalie doin Tom? (In an anxious voice)



    WHIT’S THE GOALIE DOIN TOM?!? (in a high pitched shriek)

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    We have decent defenders but we don’t seem to defend as a unit.


    We need someone who can lead, organise and communicate. If Compper can do that then great. If not it has to be a priority for the summer. We concede too many cheap goals.

  6. starry plough on 13th March 2018 12:19 pm


    Does anyone know how Stephen Caulker is getting on at Dundee???



    Had a mare on Saturday v St J

  7. Paul67



    Pretty sure Jack doesn’t have a claim for a hamdump starting place. He is cup tied is he not?

  8. thomthethim for Oscar OK on




    Speaking personally, The Lions era has kept me going through subsequent leaner times.



    To now have this period of total ascendancy is a wonderful P S to my Celtic days.



    They are to be enjoyed and savoured.


    Perhaps it’s an age thing, but I notice that in general, the, shall I say, more mature fan is more sanguine about the ups and downs of form and results.



    Maybe it’s because we have been to the top of the mountain ans lived in the Promised Land.

  9. If rumours are true and Jozo wants away and Dedryck’s agent isn’t turning up for contract talks then the central defence picks itself for qualifiers. Hendry, Ajer, Compper if three at the back or 2 from three if flat back four (Hendry could easily play RB since Lustig will be away on WC duty with Sweden)


    Between now and the end of the season try to bed in Compper with the two youngsters, Boyata as back up (even if he was to stay he will probably be away at WC with Belgium).


    If Jozo and Dedryck leave in the summer I’d expect another CH signed but not necessarily in time for the early qualifying rounds.

  10. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    STARRY PLOUGH on 13TH MARCH 2018 12:19 PM


    Does anyone know how Stephen Caulker is getting on at Dundee???





    I saw a wee clip in a paper where he said that the Dundee move was perfect for him.


    Probably is as he can test himself in a club that is under pressure, with a top class manager, who always puts his players first!

  11. Starry Plough



    Looked very ropey against St Johnstone. To be expected I suppose given amount of time not playing

  12. Gary67 on 13th March 2018 12:26 pm



    Spot on – works for me. Its the one area of concern, not helped by injuries, and takes time to sort out new partnerships. We need that sorted ahead of the next deadco game.

  13. HH Bobby, Your praise is way over the top & totally unjustified but thanks anyway. Was chatting earlier but was called away suddenly so apologies to bhoys who responded.


    PapaJoe, Talking about Bhoys doing an after game huddle outside a Pub in Cork, one of the things I really love about results like last Sunday is that very thought, that all over the World in Melbourne, New York, Benelmadena in homes & Celtic Pubs throughout the World there are Celts hugging each other & having a party.


    That is why I have no time for the kill joy attention seekers that pollute this blog.


    Yes we will have our down days but that is life all the more reason to enjoy the good days.

  14. Extending the defensive debate to include the GK position, there have been many observations that Scott Bain should be snapped up pronto as he proved on Sunday that he is worthy of a permanent deal. However, I would caution that Sunday’s game is not the one on which he should be assessed…



    In most domestic games played by Celtic, the goalkeeper spends long periods with nothing to do but attempt to fend off hypothermia and narcolepsy, unlike in Sunday’s game when the keeper was frequently called into action. It takes a special kind of goalkeeper to be able to maintain their concentration levels for that crucial moment, that can occur almost without warning, when their positional sense, reactions and agility have to be switched on in a split second.



    Not every goalkeeper can do that, and it remains to be seen whether or not big Bainy can do that in games against Motherwell, Ross County and… Dundee. I hope he can.

  15. anyone been on the ticketing website ?



    green dots missing, now got a blue & white theme …………..



    or is it just mines ?

  16. Go tell the Spartim on

    Concentration can improve with fitness, tired minds make tired decisions, but I fear there’s always a mistake in Dedrick.



    Personally i think Jozo and Boyata will be away this summer, so we need at least one quality CB, this has been a priority (imho) for a good long while now.



    Retaining Odsonne and Roberts should also be on the list and with the return of Christie, recruitment should focus on a RB and CB, oh and a new goalie

  17. Go tell the Spartim on 13th March 2018 12:57 pm


    Agree with that although I think Paddy will be off in the summer. Leicester wanted him as part of Mahrez deal and it looks like City will return for Mahrez in the summer. I think Musonda has been brought in as Paddy’s replacement,

  18. glendalystonsils on

    Delighted for young Ajer. Any promising young player who wants to break into their national side could not go to a better club than ours.

  19. Despite the pitch size myth debunking yesterday, I still think that Musonda will wreak havoc on that big Hampden pitch…





  20. Boyata rarely shows up well in the big games and can be very unrealiable with his distribution. maybe in a team not based on posession would suite him better.



    What we cant say is he has not contributed over the course. We seems to carry a lot of players that fall into that category. Hopefully we will see a lot of players hearing for the exit. i would be happy with a gk, rb and centreback of quality being bought.



    And a forward if dembele goes




  21. Go tell the Spartim on

    Gary 67



    You’re probably right, wouldve been nice to have kept him or bought him permanently at the start of the year.



    i look forward to young Musonda’s contribution, once he’s fully bedded in, much the same way as Odsonne has.



    My next task is to find the RB and CB before Trad 88 asks ;-)

  22. Big Stevie Caulker will stick the nut on McCann and demand a move to Celtic. You heard it here first.