Time to pair Lustig and VVD in central defence


This afternoon’s friendly against Tottenham Hotspur gives Ronny Deila a dilemma.  Last weekend he played a second string against St Pauli, but with things going so wrong in Warsaw on Wednesday, the pressure is on to pull a game plan together which will work at Murrayfield.

Our other concern is that the squad, without Ambrose, Brown and Forrest, is already looking threadbare.  We simply can’t afford an injury to afflict Commons, Griffiths, Stokes, Johansen, van Dijk, Matthews, Lustig or Izaguirre.

The suggestion was put to me this week that we should play Lustig with van Dijk in central defence on Wednesday.  Lustig can play there, but would Ronny trust them on such an important occasion without a warm-up game?

If I was taking a risk with first-team players this afternoon it would be to pair these two.  If we’re going to get the required result on Wednesday the most important area of the team to get right is the defence.

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  1. Maybe RD should look to play a 3-4-3 on Wednesday. He likes pace and width in his teams and none of our forward players can provide that. Play Lustig, VVD & Mulgrew as a three and push Matthews & Izzy further up the park. Biton & Johansen in centre mid with KC playing behind Griffiths and either Stokes or Pukki.


    Worth a try. Nothing to lose, we are as good as out as it stands.

  2. Danger of a partnership’s confidence being seriously undermined in a game against spurs as first time it in a backup team

  3. starry plough



    13:12 on 2 August, 2014





    Would that mean Charlie at centre mid or would you drop him??




    I would drop him after Wednesday’s performance unless we go three at the back. I’d go with Biton, can’t be any worse.

  4. Good afternoon all.



    My wee granddaughter is going to her first Celtic game today. I spoke her via face time this morning and she was bouncing with excitement. She’s 6 years old. Expect water breaks today as the temp was 25 degrees when I spoke to them, expected to be around 30 ish this afternoon. Hey ho. :-))



    Weefra HH praying to Wee Oscar.

  5. The Battered Bunnet on

    Injuries of course are a concern, but set against the shortage of game time, are a necessary risk.



    The team needs time on the pitch to adapt to and understand what they’re doing in training.



    If Legia showed us anything, it was that there’s no substitute for game time.

  6. tommytwiststommyturns on

    Charlie couldn’t posibly play as badly (ever again), so I might be tempted to pair him with VVD at CB. Matthews doesn’t seem right to me, so ML at right-back and Izzy on the left.


    Solid midfield with Biton, Henderson & Johansen. KC & Pukki playing off Griffiths.



    I’m talking about Wednesday, not today!




  7. chrisvancoupon on

    VVD and Lustig were both culpable on Wednesday, so will need to improve. The back four actually had shape after Ambrose went off. The lack of midfield cover was the problem. Charlie Mulgrew is a carthorse and not athletic enough to play as a midfielder. He also believes his own hype. The number one offender of looking disinterested under Lennon.


    Kayal was winning tackles he other night, which is more than can be said for anyone else.


    Celtic have all these forwards who play better with two up front. The current trend of playing forwards in wide areas to cut in on their dominant foot is a lot of rubbish unless you are Arjen Robben. It suits neither Griffiths or Stokes.

  8. Big fan of lustigs but he didn’t fill me full of confidence against Dundee ( I think) a couple if years ago. He scored twice in the day funnily enough but was suspect for the goals we conceded. Unless my memory is letting me down

  9. Just Another Tim on

    Fancy yourself as the next Ronny Deila? Think your better than Stein? then here is the invite code to the CQN Championship Fantasy Football League, we now have 30 teams entered.






    You have 14 days left to register your team & join the league.






    As an added incentive I’ve decided to offer some prizes for the top 3 come the end of the season. The winners will each receive items of their choosing from the Official Celtic Webstore to the tune of



    1st £100


    2nd £75


    3rd £50



    Or alternatively, winners can choose to donate any winnings to a Celtic charity of their choice.



    Also if by some miracle I end up in the top 3, the winnings will be passed onto the next placed team.




  10. the glorious balance sheet on

    To claw back a three goal deficit in the 2nd leg we need our full backs to be able to do 2 things:-



    1. Stop crosses to keep Legia out of our box; and


    2. Get up the park as much as possible on the overlap and put in decent crosses and put Legia under pressure.



    I think Matthews generally is a better crosser than Lustig. But defensively Matthews isn`t so good at stopping crosses, too often he stands off wide men and lets them put crosses in. Prone to the odd brain-wrong as well, for example the short pass back under no pressure that sold a goal v Aberdeen towards the end of last season.



    Also I think Lustig is a better athlete for getting up and down the park. On that basis I`d keep Lustig at right back and play Mulgrew centre half.



    Added advantage of this is it keeps Charlie out of our midfield where he is liable to get done by quick 1-2s and always slows the play down too much when we have the ball.

  11. The Two Onnies will suprise us all with another bamboozling team selection, cos the supporters just irny wise enough to know what football is all about.



    I note today R Onnie said he was let down by everyone.


    And J Onnie says leave R Onnie alane.



    why not try Craig Gordon upfront, he tried it once before against us.

  12. Gary67



    I really hope we start Biton, I can’t see Ronny going three at the back though, they’re pretty nippy upfront and they only need to get in behind once to put us out! A solid central midfield is essential and I hope to God that Charlie is not in there, I don’t believe in dropping one man for a team Snafu but on Wednesday we need to move the ball quick and I would have Henderson in there as well, the Bhoy rarely loses the football, I’m impressed with the youngsters that are coming through they seemed to have mastered the basics…



    Feck it’s only Saturday!!

  13. Charlie Mulgrew doesn’t have the pace or mobility to play centre midfield at a higher level than the SPFL.



    If he plays on Wednesday it should be at centre half.



    My preference would be VVD and Lustig as the central pairing with Izzy and Matthews as the full backs.



    One of our significant problems last Wednesday was that we didn’t press as a unit and they passed around us.



    For that reason I wouldn’t have Kayal near the starting 11. He doesn’t have the discipline required to maintain the shape we will need.

  14. Mulgrew to CB, lustig to RM, matthews at RB, Johanson, mcgregor and kayal, commons in some kind of midfield formation, stokes up front.



    On weds, the team needs to be robust first. If we still habe a chance at half time having won the midfield battle then we can go for it a bit.



    For me the defence needs more protection. Its all about midfield.

  15. McDowellcelt god bless wee oscar on

    I don’t think lustig or VVD travelled for today’s friendly.


    Id say they will both definitely play centre back on Wednesday. We have no other options there unless mulgrew goes back to centre half. Although after the performance mulgrew gave on wed nite that’s the last place he should be!

  16. For me the defence needs more protection. Its all about midfield.



    and the goal scorers.

  17. @celticfc: Celtic team to play @SpursOfficial Gordon; Herron, O’Connell, Ambrose, Twardzik; Lindsay, Irvine, Henderson; McGeouch, Pukki, McMullan (MH)



    Weefra HH praying to Wee Oscar.

  18. I’d keep Chas well easy from the central defence , I can’t recall Chas bring played there in Europe since he had a disaster a few years back against some Swedish mob. We would have lost the game if Kayal hadn’t pulled up and Kevin Wilson came on and chas was moved out of harms way.



    IMO 3 at the back would be suicidal

  19. For the life of me I cant see why we are not playing some of the 1st team today.As you say,Paul,VVD and Lustig or Charley should be playing today.The two strikers he will play on Wednseday should play today,in fact,the whole team he expects to play should be out on the park today instead of having their @rses runnining around Lennoxtown.They had no clue last week.How is no game time going to sort that out.Looking at a tactics board?.How did that work for us last week?.


    Injuries are an everyday risk,forget about that.They cant be “Tired”.They have hardly kicked a ball.Not even to send Bergets,to give him game time is unbelievable.


    I am sorry,I cannot see how this will help us on Wednesday.Also,a probable humping from Spurs,will do morale a power of good.Wont it?.


    Lets hope Spurs are at half pace today.

  20. @celticfc: Subs: Fasan, Waters, McManus, McIlduff, Tierney, Balde, Fridjonsson. (MH)



    Weefra HH praying to Wee Oscar.

  21. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon ....The angels are with Wee Oscar in Heaven.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on




    13:16 on 2 August, 2014



    I would have Charlie at CH also……got my ticket today…….in a different lounge / seat ….. must have been something I said the last time….was orchestrating the singing, right enough …. Hahahahahahaha

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