In defence of the defence


Three years ago, we watched as Odsonne Edouard and Moussa Dembele tore up the early Champions League qualifiers, forming what promised to be a productive partnership.  Injury prevented them from finishing that qualifying group, neither started as we exited in Athens and Moussa left as the transfer window closed.

In all probability, the partnership of Odsonne and Kyogo Furuhashi will end before August is out, but while they are both here and fit, they have the potential to form a devastating attacking threat.  On Sunday, Kyogo was handed the junior role on the left, with Odsonne through the middle.  Both can work either position, a flexibility which increases their potency.

With so many areas of the team looking stronger than it was two weeks ago, defence remains the area Ange Postecoglou will seek to improve.  We need a second right back, with Boli Bolingoli’s position at the club unclear, we probably need a left back too, and as it could be months before we see Christopher Jullien, I could make the case for a central defender.

Without wanting to tempt fate, though, we need to give credit to the three young Scots in the defence, Greg Taylor (23), Anthony Ralston (22) and Stephen Welsh (21) have performed above expectations so far this season.  If Carl Starfelt stops beating himself up and relaxes into his Celtic skin, we will strengthen from a strong base line.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6




    Between you and me I think Celtic are using a filter system to keep troublemakers out.



    (Only kidding FAIRHILL BHOY, mibbe see you soon!)

  2. tomorrow match has no more sales listed in account so


    assume another sell out



    good times

  3. Paul67



    Liam Scales will tip the balance.



    Left sided CB, who can play left back where we already have Taylor, Montgomery and Boli ( in the revolving door ).



    Christie was ruled out only because of injury and Eddy might not have started otherwise, so maybe it’s fate he stays in the side and helps get us beyond AZ before his big move.



    First team RB still the main priority.

  4. Hand of God,



    My understanding is that winning the league this season gets us into a play-off to get to the CL group stage next year. I think only the top 10 seeded nations qualify directly (Austria 10th, currently)


    However, I could be wrong, got a sneaky suspicion that we go straight in if this seasons CL winners also qualify via their own league position for next season…

  5. BANKIEBHOY1 on 17TH AUGUST 2021 9:46 AM









    Do you have the compass jellyfish where you are?





    My morning dip was plagued with them today.





    Apparently attracted by the recent warm spell we’ve had in Rebel County



    Just back in,too bloody warm.Sand like Lava.


    Hi mate,no,no Jellyfish here,but some reports of certain species appearing in Turkish waters,from elsewhere.Saw a couple of fish,never seen before last week,out fishing on the boat.Looked like skinny Barracuda,big fin on their back.3 feet long.If I had been in the water I would have been out like a Polaris missile.Bloody scorching here.

  6. Both AR and GT are half finished regarding the standard of player we will need this season.



    AR needs confidence / coaching / co-operation — making good progress but more is needed.


    GT needs a final ball and some fine tuning — his pace is an issue but it can be fixed.


    Both are works in progress that need time to settle and develop.



    Consequently we need new blood in these areas with LB the more pressing issue.


    Not sure what is happening with BBg — he is the kind of player that would cause us problems in EuL games but has not settled into the demands of the SPL.



    My thoughts are that he will come good with better coaching / more support / team playing better football. However if his head has gone then he hopefully can be moved on to the benefit of everybody concerned.



    Hopefully LS is next in the door.


    Then comes a lot of effort to help CS settle in.


    Plus a lot of coaching for SW to help him move up to the next level.



    So that then leaves the Croatian RB and the Japanese CB to provide the depth.


    Might have to get creative — loans or debt — but we need more depth.



    If NB ever plays CB outside of a partnership with JH in a charity game then we will have learned nothing.


    I think AP is well beyond that so here’s hoping.

  7. Has anyone seen Liam Scales play? I’m hoping he has the talent matched to a defender with more physicality.

  8. HLS @ 12.34



    All the talk has been that the SPL winners are straight into next season’s CL group stages.


    Might be wishful thinking but that is the chat of the past few months.



    If you have any better info then please share.


    However I think you are being a bit pessimistic.

  9. Asking Liam Scales to come in from Irish football, to play for us regularly, is a bit of a stretch right now.




    Think that’s right.You would really have to think Chelsea will be in the top 4 in the EPL.They are a mean machine,with a terrific squad.Tipped on MOTD to actually win it.


    We should be looking to be going straight in to the groups.

  11. As we increase the numbers coming in, so moving the deadwood becomes important. Let’s hope we jettison Barkas, Bolingoli, Griffiths & Ajeti asap. I see no future for any of them. Maybe Broonie will lobby for Griff in the unlikely event of Aberdeen getting through against Quarabag



    With the addition of the Croatian & the Irish boy, I think the squad will have the right mixture of youth and experience. Only time will tell if there is sufficient quality.

  12. ZD1 @ 12.47



    The abilities of LS …



    Considering our performances last season and our glass jaw this season — if he has a pulse and can stand up straight and use his left foot then he is in with a shout as a starter.



    The current CB roster is not great — all have issues / all have some talent.


    Nobody is currently good enough to own the jersey for the season.


    CJ is the most talented but he wear’s his heart of his sleeve and is prone to the odd footballing nervous breakdown.



    If we can find a quality CB then we win double as CJ will calm down if he has support alongside him.

  13. !BADA BING!! on 17TH AUGUST 2021 12:53 PM


    Asking Liam Scales to come in from Irish football, to play for us regularly, is a bit of a stretch right now.



    WITS giving good reports on the boy.Not as if he is going to be up against top players in the SPFL.Quite a few teams in Engerlund fancy him.We could be onto a winner here.Need Jullien back,and Starfelt on the right.Maybe get some semblance of order then.Read that Ange likes the 3 at the back.


    Worried about Ibrox .They will bombard us with crosses.We saw how many they put into the box against Malmo.From middle to front,if they turn up,we should terrorise their defence.

  14. Looking ahead to the Alkmaar game, what are our relative chances of progressing based on various metrics.



    Firstly on UEFA coefficients Celtic look strong with a coef. of 34 compared to Alkmaar’s 21.5, this would translate into a 61% chance of progressing.



    On estimated squad value (Transfermarkt) Celtic total 72.4m compared to Alkmaar’s 80.5m, on this metric Celtic would have a 48% chance of progressing.



    Finally on “best available starting 11” Celtic have a team valued at 53.9m, whereas Alkmaar’s is 49.5m, providing a 52% chance of progressing.



    Alkmaar’s squad value is propped up by two highly valued players in the left back Owen Wijndal (15.75m) and holding mid Teun Koopmeister (14.85m). Wijndal is currently injured and it’s unlikely he’ll return for either leg, so his value is omitted from the best available eleven. Koopmeister is unsettled, and was omitted from the starting 11 for the 1-0 loss to Waalwijk at the weekend. He’s included in the “best available”, however note his omission from the team on Wednesday would raise our “best available” chance to 61%.



    None of these metrics are perfect, Transfermarkt’s methods of calculating player value are questionable at best, and we’ve seen how games can make a mockery of UEFA coefficients, but that’s football.



    This could come down to the respective managers and how they setup and motivate their team. The AZ manager, Pascal Jansen, is a relative unknown on his first managerial role and had a poor start at AZ last December, losing the first league game and then their last Europa group game to Rijeka which saw them exit the competition. Form improved in the league, and across the season they won home and away to PSV and Feyenoord, but lost both games against Ajax. They finished third in the Eredivisie, which is about where anyone would expect them to finish, albeit just a single point behind Feyenoord. AZ had the second highest goals scored in the league but you’d have to go down to eight to find a higher goals conceded, this suggests a team with a focus on attack and high scoring football, sound familiar?



    They sold their best striker and right winger in the summer, and of course their accomplished right back Jonas Svensson left on a free. The forward was replaced with 23 goal Greek striker Vangelis Pavlidis from Willem II, but it’s debatable whether other departures have been sufficiently covered as of yet. However goals came regularly from the aforementioned Koopmeister and the left winger, Jesper Karlsson. Of the players most likely to start on Wednesday I’d make Karlsson the dangerman, racking up 11 goals and 9 assists last season. If Koopmeister also starts these are the players to watch.



    AZ are clearly a team capable of scoring from many sources, and could give a shaky defence a torrid time. I think this will be a close tie, two teams in a period of transition but I’d give Celtic the edge based team momentum and being slightly ahead on the rebuild. Interesting times.

  15. Go tell the Spartim on

    You could make the case for another CB, really ? It’s a priority along with RB, I’d actually go for two CB as we’re only an injury away from Bitton playing there. We should have the best players we can afford in our starting 11, we haven’t. I realise this may take a few windows.



    Apart from that I’m happy 🍀🍀🍀

  16. Thanks Philboy, my pleasure.



    Slight typo though, AZ finished a point behind PSV, not Feyenoord.

  17. SoE @ 1.05



    Interesting stuff — AZ came 3rd while PSV came second and are currently slugging it out in the CL qualifiers.



    However if we were to get into the Dutch league where would we end up this season?



    1st / 2nd / 3rd?



    We should beat AZ but we have struggled in the past when facing the unknown / something different.



    Put AZ in the SPL and we would be favourites to win.


    Interesting to know their crowds and their T/O — as KDS have it they are the “Hertz of Holland”.



    Geography pedants need not reply.

  18. Hi Paul



    Agreed the two full backs look better…..going forward!



    They are still making a poor job of defensive duties.



    Twice now we have put in a first half performance at a pace I haven’t seen at Celtic park, No way can that be sustained for 90 mins. Inevitably we are going to rely on our defence allowing the rest of the team a gulp of oxygen and a chance to mentally relax.



    Early games, we have flagged in the second half because of poor defending, letting well beaten teams back into the game with poorly defended goals. I cant see any evidence that Ralston and Taylor giving us the confidence that they can snuff this out.



    We also need more height in the defence.



    Once Ange gets the defenders we need, we will be unstoppable,

  19. Quick update, just read that the AZ left winger Karlsson is suspended for the first tie. He’ll be a big miss for them.

  20. TB- agree, the main threat from Sevco will be cross balls, Scales could be a late developer at 23,but it’s like asking a guy from Falkirk to walk into the team

  21. Notthebus- got a couple of messages recently saying Juranovic incoming, any translation ☝️

  22. Weebobbycollins on

    What about this guy Anthonyja Ralstona…or Leeja O’Connora? Could they do a job for us?

  23. BADA BING!! on 17TH AUGUST 2021 1:26 PM


    TB- agree, the main threat from Sevco will be cross balls, Scales could be a late developer at 23,but it’s like asking a guy from Falkirk to walk into the team




    Lol.You obviously forget about a guy called Maxwell we signed from Falkirk in the 60s.12,000 quid,and we were excited about it.Straight into the team,and worse than useless.Think it was Hugh Maxwell.

  24. BADA BING!! on 17TH AUGUST 2021 1:28 PM


    Notthebus- got a couple of messages recently saying Juranovic incoming, any translation ☝️



    Praying that’s true,and the reports of haggling are untrue.Just get it done.

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6