With the departure of Jozo Simunovic we are short of a central defender, so hearing Brighton’s Shane Duffy has held talks with Neil Lennon is no surprise. Whereas Jozo was mostly a fringe player, it is unlikely we would bring a 28-year-old on what will be high wages into the squad to sit on the bench. He is not a ‘project’.
Celtic played some of their best football last season when they had three at the back. Performance in the defeat that still causes alarm, at home to Newco in December, improved significantly when BItton came on midway through the second half to form a back three with Ajer and Jullien.
The game was still lost, but from that point Celtic’s midfield got a grip on the game. An extra body in the middle of the park changed everything. We kicked on and bossed away games at Kilmarnock, Hamilton, Motherwell and St Johnstone with three central defenders, scoring 14 for 1 conceded. There are lots of reasons we won the league last season but this tactical switch was the most important. History would be different if we persisted with a four.
I reckon we have enough for Reykjavik at home with any formation, but I would not be happy playing our current back four against Djurgardens. Duffy, or anyone ready to slot in, asap, please.