Jota more important than Carter-Vickers


Our two loan signings on the final day of the transfer window, Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers, have been crucial to the (presumptive) outcome of the league title, the latter more so than the former; Cameron could easily have won Player of the Year.  Despite this, it is Jota who is the more important to secure on a permanent deal.

Having watched Newco suffocate our midfield twice in a month and Bodo/Glimt do the same earlier in the year, to the extent that we struggled to build periods of possession, never mind attacks, we need to answer the question, why was this?

When our central defenders have the ball, they face options of either trying to find a full back or Callum McGregor, or hope that someone further up field is in space.  Those options were snuffed out by Newco, causing a nervousness as players took possession with an opponent breathing down his neck.

What would Kristoffer do?

Kristoffer Ajer would step forward with the ball, drawing opponents off their markers and immediately creating space.  He could then play a short pass or, if he was not challenged, continue a run through the middle.

It is reasonable to claim Celtic have the best two central defenders in the league, even the previously maligned Carl Starfelt is a model of solidity.  The problem is, neither can carry the ball forward as effectively as Kris Ajer.  We need at least one central defender with this attribute, preferably two.

Ange Postecoglou is not going to change the way we play.  Next season you will see our central defenders in possession looking at man-marked team-mates.  We either address an identifiable problem, or we are in for more of the same.

The first job of a defender is to defend, and we all remember the shambles of last season, even with Kris, but despite my fondness for Cameron and Carl in this respect, we need a rethink.


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  1. Absolutely spot on Paul67 and despite our honest love affair with CCV this year after last year’s shambles, we need players to fit the system, at the right age (resale is very important to our model) and with the right attributes.



    Left-footed CH and a ball carrying partner supported by a LB upgrade would transform the team. They are available out there with the right people in place now to find them.



    Jota is the right profile for us and will earn us a fortune as he progresses. Not sure about a 25 year old CH (CCV in 2022).



    No place for sentimentality.




  2. KA and it has to be said the CJ of two years ago were the two best ball playing CBs that we have had in decades.



    VVD and JD came close and in the case of VVD he has probably gone beyond where the young KA was with us.



    However both were quality and KA was / is exceptional even in an EPL context.



    CS has started to get the vibe developed the confidence to take the ball forward and CCV was quite good at the 20M pass to beat the press and get the ball to TR / MO’R.



    AP is still learning the game — he will improve next season and hopefully so will the squad.



    When we have a back four that are comfortable going forward with the ball at their feet then we will be in a good place.

  3. The Battered Bunnet on

    The answer – in part – to this problem Paul is to increase the number of players available to receive the ball. You’ll see it happening in every match featuring a team that plays this style.



    Oh, and big Cammy is pretty good with the ball at his feet.



    It’s always difficult to compare players in different positions but for my money, CCV makes a bigger contribution to the team’s success than Jota. If we could only sign one of them, I’d take CCV first.

  4. Pingback: Jota more important than Carter-Vickers | Celtic FC News Now

  5. McPhail Bhoy on

    Is this ‘code’ for the fact that we’re not going to sign Cameron Carter-Vickers on a permanent deal because he doesn’t want to sign/ too much money/ Spurs not wanting it?

  6. P67 — TFOD2.1 tactics against us vs B/G tactics.



    TFOD2.1 played a partial high press for 60 minutes.


    Their first thoughts are defensive so they are limited in how many people they can put into the high press.


    We played around it and got CS moving forward = us on the front foot / looking good.



    Final 30 minutes and they add another player to the press and we struggle to make progress as the extra man stops CS moving forward — cue panic.



    If we move up a level in class we pass through them and give them a hiding if we take our chances.



    B/G played a full high press from the start.


    That knocked our confidence and we struggled to get it together.



    When we did string 3 or 4 passes together their bottle started to crash as their tactics worked against them — they had little true class / talent but they were well drilled so if the tactics fail they have little to fall back upon.



    Big RW is a bit limited but very effective — worth a punt.

  7. Paul , I’m sure Man City would bite your arm off for a central defender who can defend properly, Real too. Ball playing centre halves are great , I would prefer one who knows how to defend first.

  8. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    MCPHAIL BHOY on 5TH MAY 2022 12:18 PM


    Is this ‘code’ for the fact that we’re not going to sign Cameron Carter-Vickers on a permanent deal because he doesn’t want to sign/ too much money/ Spurs not wanting it?




    Was my first thought too ;-))



    Couple of worriers the pair of us…






  9. Garngad to Croy on

    Why can’t we have both ? But we will probably end up with none (Eeyore)

  10. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Interesting talking point, Paul.


    Both would be hard to replace if we had to. I hope we do everything we can to keep the two of them.


    Jota – a winger that can play on either flank, go outside or in and put in a quality cross with both feet.


    CCV – a positionally-aware defender that can read the game, concentrate and doesn’t over-commit.


    Not too many of them going around at our price level.


    Different ways of overcoming the man-marking – better rotations in midfield for a start.


    Even if we get an Ajer-type ball-carrying CB you still don’t want to be down to two of decent quality.

  11. MCPHAIL BHOY on 5TH MAY 2022 12:18 PM



    Is this ‘code’ for the fact that we’re not going to sign Cameron Carter-Vickers on a permanent deal because he doesn’t want to sign/ too much money/ Spurs not wanting it?




    Call me a cynic, but this thought also crosse my mind. 👍




  12. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    “The first job of a defender is to defend”.



    Should never be forgotten.



    Has been forgotten by some modern “thinkers” some of whom have actually been paid as managers or coaches.



    CCV defends better than Kris Ajer.



    Kris Ajer brings ball out better than CCV.



    So we just need to find a guy who can do both !!



    Simple (but not easy)



    FWIW – I think CCV’s passing out of defence, particularly that zipped diagonal ball round the corner to Juranovic …



    (example second goal by Hatate against Old Firm FC)



    … Is pretty decent.

  13. This article just confuses me.


    I’m not sure i agree with it, either.


    CCV isn’t that good?


    We may be looking at an entirely new centre half pairing?


    Hope not.

  14. A reminder there’s very little value for us in the EPL transfer market.



    In global terms, and thinking of Japan in particular, CCV is overpriced. We do need to balance our limited budget with our need to upgrade across the team.




  15. Hi Paul,



    Hope you’re well.



    Good points – however if we play CL next year, I think we’ll surely be in for more of Ibrox Second half performances, where CCV and Carl were immense.



    One Q – any role for Jullien in this Celtic team? Arguably better than Ajer in 19/20, and clearly a goal threat in the big matches.




  16. No doubt Ange will be thinking hard about it



    Liverpool faced a similar problem in Spain on Tuesday and turned the game on it head by moving midfield and wide players into different spaces and encouraging the midfield to have the confidence to take the ball on the half turn under pressure. Their movement was better, which is something that couldn’t have been said about us in the second half on Sunday. Hatate showed for the ball but was uncomfortable under pressure, calmac took the ball and didn’t turn to look forward. To beat that sort of press you need to consistently find the spaces and have the opposition midfield turned and running towards their own goal. Every time we did it we looked like scoring and in a game where we didn’t perform very well we actually made more good chances than them. You don’t even need to do it that much over the course of 90 minutes.



    Unfortunately having a three in midfield, with a bit of a lack of athleticism the movement needed can tail off a bit when fatigue hits, which can be as quickly as half time, so 3 early subs makes sense.



    Klopp’s personnel change shows the importance of wide players showing for the ball in that system as well. Klopp said himself Jota was making runs into space but not being found, he pointed out that it was the tactical change of Diaz coming on, rather than the performance of the individual that made the difference .



    Not to say we shouldn’t also be looking at a ball-carrying centre half. It commits players who would otherwise be marking more creative players. Yiu can see teams not knowing what to do when a cb strolls to the edge of the 18 yard box. Starfelt doesn’t convince doing it but he is often effective, he makes up the territory then doesn’t know what to do with it. Hopefully it’ll come with experience. Ccv seems less keen to do it.



    The Huns have found a different solution, Goldson plays very good long balls to the wings, but finding someone like that will be difficult, and his defending isn’t great.



    The problem with resigning a Kris Ajer type would be that we’d be instantly more vulnerable at set pieces. I’d take the trade off with CCV because of the confidence that being more secure brings. And conceding fewer goals from situations where every SPL teams gets the big majority of their chances against us. Ajer’s defending wasn’t good enough, he was jumping under crosses again as soon as he went to Brentford



    Brendan Rodgers is talking about selling his central defenders this summer and buying more naturally aggressive ones – after hiring a set-piece coach that has made no difference to their terrible record this season he’s now saying aggression can’t be coached and that the only solution is new players. I thought of CCV when he said it but I think he’s probably a bit short and a touch too slow for a team with top 4 aspirations.




  17. I’d say CCV is a better defender than Ajer, when he was with us. Ajer is excellent at carrying the ball forward, has pace and can dribble. He wasn’t a great passer. Julien was a very good passer, though I don’t think we’ll see him again. What areas do we look to improve in the team? Easy answer, as every single position can be improved (theoretically).

  18. BR / Top 4 aspirations — That ship has sailed


    Titanic rings a bell.



    He needs a new club — not much of a builder / more an improver / upgrader.

  19. Getting CCV on a permanent deal was never going to happen. His English Premiership salary demands is way more than we could afford.

  20. Would not disagree Paul67 that neither Starfelt nor CCV can run forward in possession creating space the way the Ajer did – and also that this is important to the way the Ange plays.



    But the most important attribute of any central defender is to defend and big CCV does this better than Ajer and all other central defenders currently with the squad, including Starfelt.



    He’s also an absolute leader.



    It looks like he’s away by all accounts but even when Jota (whom I like) was playing at the top of his game earlier in the season, there is no way I would take Jota over CCV if we were only capable of signing one of them.



    From a defending perspective, CCV will be a massive loss – and a much bigger loss than if Jota left.

  21. We defo need a midfield able to lose its markers and I would welcome more mobility/atleticism in there as we are too static, likewise in the full back positions, too often the ball is shuffled back the way from the left back position in particular, in the SPL most of the time we can win anyway but in Europe and against Sevco they eventually snuffed out any threat leading us to focus on a couple of chances that became crucial to the outcome which we didnt take.

  22. cigalasporfavor on

    I’m not looking too much into our recent performances against sevco. We were missing, in my opinion, the best player in Scotland (Juranovic) who is always available for a pass and nine times out of ten can carry or pass on through the press. Good solid skilful defensive CH’s and Juranovic type full backs would be my preferred option. Wouldn’t want to see Jota go either!.

  23. I would hope that for the same money we could find a very good defender, though. Getting someone to come to Scotland, on the wages we pay is always the issue, of course. Even with, hopefully, CL football



    I’m not sure the same could be said of someone at Jota’s age with his ability. He scored on Sunday with an identical chance to the one Kent missed. If things were the other way round we’d be looking at a very different end to the season. I think Jota, with a rest, a preseason and some more coaching will be better.

  24. Oh and Sevco have centre halves i wouldnt want at Celtic but are in a European semi final tonight they hardly move, I hope Leipzig put to bed my fears very early and put them out comfortably.

  25. Totally agree Paul. I have been slated and ridiculed on social media for stating the same. Probably CCV is the less talented “baller” of the two. Though I am only surmising that Starfelt is better on the right. ( he looks so awkward on the left it is frightening). Take note I think both are very decent defenders but footballers?


    For Ange ball?


    I don’t think they have that skill


    in their locker for it.


    Wonder how Julian would fair?



  26. I said earlier this morning, to keep the two of them we would need to spend 12 million from our transfer budget and the team would not be any better than this season. We’d be treading water.


    Jota is the one that fits our buy/sell model. In two years he’ll go for 15-20 million. He has star quality.


    I think we can do better than CCV if we are spending above 3-4 million. Be it from m Scandinavia, Eastern Europe or Asia.


    Lawell junior will be on the case.

  27. The first job of a defender is to defend, and we all remember the shambles of last season, even with Kris, but despite my fondness for Cameron and Carl in this respect, we need a rethink.



    agree , if we want to play out from the back we require defenders with the capability too do so.

  28. DENIABHOY on 5TH MAY 2022 1:22 PM



    Having done it at the start of last season with Jota and CCV it’s not impossible that we get two players of similar ability with the same arrangement – loan to buy – for next season



    We’d have CCV and Jota and two more players with similar ability.

  29. I agree with Paul and almost all posters to date on this matter. I would add a couple of things.



    When we ‘play out’ and the ball reaches a midfielder, it invariably’bounces off’ which means it has to be re-controlled whilst still facing our own goal. This takes time allowing the ‘presser’ to get closer and if not tackled & dispossessed, then usually a hurried backward, or, sideways, pass ensues. No one seems able to take the ball in quickly on the half-turn and progress the transition. So while I agree re: Ajer-like’stepping out from the back’, we need one, or, two in midfield to be more ‘switched-on’. It doesn’t matter too much against all domestic opposition bar the Ibrox club, but as has been mentioned, Bodo was a master-class in showing where our deficiencies lie in the European arena.



    On CCV and Paul maybe ‘flagging-up’ his imminent departure – well maybe so; but CCV will make his own mind up based on the offers from ‘down south’, which his agent will been working assiduously on since the turn of the year. Celtic will not be able to match an offer of 2/3 times his current wages, nor should we – to so do would have an immediate effect on the wage-structure now in place and be disruptive & unaffordable. If Leicester, or, Southampton, or, Fulham, or Brighton want him, just like Ajer, Edouard & Christie, he will go, CL, or, no CL.

  30. Firstly I would say that Starfelt does bring the ball forward albeit not as effectively as KA did. However I would also point out that it’s not solely about systems but about who the ball is going to and when. Receiving the ball from your GK whilst facing him is not in my view the way to play the game unless you have players with exceptional technique in every position. To use CCV as an excuse for our midfield not performing in these games is lazy I would suggest and as has been suggested may be an excuse for Paul not thinking we will get him. If you remember he also suggested that Jota may have hamstring issues and so placing faith in a player such as that could be a gamble. It seems that an excuse not to sign him needs to be made to soften the blow if it doesn’t happen. I’d take a “proper” CB any day of the week over a “Ball playing” one. A combination is possible but CCV has been our best defender this season and would be one of the first names on the team sheet if he stays. A priority signing I would say. Jota also gives us a quality of cross that others don’t. None of the side is perfect or even top quality otherwise they wouldn’t be with us but CCV and Jota are (as Paul said) hugely part of the reason we are going to win the league. Let’s not pick faults with very good players when we should be looking to strengthen by moving on others AND also looking at tweaking how we play the game. Signing a midfielder that is more robust and won’t be bullied but can also play. That would also be a priority for me.

  31. We should also remember when we signed them. Both absolutely vital to our league campaign, both signed 11 games into the season.



    Sometimes it pays to wait

  32. Will have the Euros games on this afternoon while working in my study – they jump between all games and show all goals – a good set up for a neutral.



    I’m supporting Leipzig unequivocally for the following reasons:


    1. We went to Seville in 2003 when my second son (now 18) was making his way into life. I don’t want our excellent memories of our time there blighted by the inevitable shame that will come with them.


    2. A chance (and they have one) of winning the trophy, will fund further unsustainable spending in Govan – no brainer – I hope they lose.

  33. During the weekends of this coming September, our players will face the talents of the Alan Power’s and Cammy Devlin’s of this world. The midweeks, our guys will be confronted with the Toni Kroos’s or Thiago Alcantara’s. From thugs to elite pro’s in the space of 72 hours. A mouthwatering thought but also a scary one.



    The step up from the SPFL to CL will be as big as ever. I would certainly like to see both CC-V and Jota stay as there is no risk with them, we know their strengths and weaknesses. Any newbies coming in will be a risk, in whatever position.

  34. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    CCV might highlight the flaw in the “try before you buy” loans that seem be favoured by some.



    To be fair, many on this blog were a bit “sniffy” about CCV when he was signed given that he had been loaned out by Spurs to Championship sides for a couple of seasons – but anybody who had actually watched him play could have seen that he was more than good enough for the Scottish Premier Laegue.



    Wind forward a season and teams like Leicester, Everton, Southampton and Leeds all need defensive upgrades – and of course, the likes of Bournemouth and Fulham will be looking to strengthen their playing pool.



    Spurs had obviously decided last year that CCV was never going to be a top 6 EPL player – and we could probably have got him cheaply at that time. Could be that the ship has sailed on that one.

  35. I have said a few times before and remain of the same opinion ie whilst I would like both C C-V and Jota, I see the former as more important. Sadly, I feel he won`t be with us next season.

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