Various gaps but central defence is strategically important


As the football operation at Celtic enjoys its first break since returning to training in June, focus at the club moves to recruitment.  Celtic have been busy renewing contracts throughout the first half of the season, the notable exceptions being Dedryck Boyata and Scott Brown, but reinforcements are needed ahead of the Champions League qualification games, if not the second half of the season.

The biggest area of concern is central defence.  Filip Benkovic will (probably) return to Leicester City in June, while Dedryck Boyata will hope to cash-in on last summer’s World Cup appearances before he produces too many like those at Ibrox on Saturday.  The Marvin Compper experiment was over before it began, while Jack Hendry has dropped to fifth choice and the fitness status of Jozo Simunovic has to be assessed on a minute-by-minute basis.

That leaves Kristoffer Ajer (20) as the only reliable option for a position that cost us dearly against AEK in August.

There is work to do elsewhere.  Right back needs strengthened, we are crucially short of headcount in the striker department and there’s a reasonable chance Scott Brown will move on this summer, but while moves are underway to cover some of these gaps, I would forgo all other positions to get central defence sorted out this month, despite the fact that right now it is the most settled of the positions discussed.

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  1. Southside



    They get away with it because they are ultimately accountable to their own organisation and not the one they serve.



    Most of the problems stem from lack of accountability (and transparency) something Res12, using accountability to shareholders, is trying to address.

  2. Davis, 34, no longer reviled for his Tupe In 2012, is considered an astute signing for Deidco.


    Lustig, 32, with over 70 Caps for Sweden and World Cup experience, is considered too far over the hill to play with us.

  3. On a different tack, I was chatting to my Dad about Brendan the other night. How at the end of his first season we believed we would be lucky if he stayed with us for another 1-2 seasons before being offered one of the big EPL gigs – Arsenal, Man Utd-type gigs.


    Now we think that if/when he moves, it will be to a team in the bottom half of the EPL. Instead of us being a stepping stone back to the big leagues, we might actually be the last big club he manages.


    It was a similar story with MoN. At one point he was a hot favourite for the England job.


    How quickly the management merry-go-round changes.

  4. Anyone else feel that change or mix of tactics and style of play is as important as signings??

  5. Southside



    A good question. I think they are but seem reluctant to use.



    Why is the $64m question.

  6. After speaking to three Tims here in the States, who spend a great deal of their $$$ on supporting Celtic in various forms, the consensus is clear.



    Should we not strengthen in this window, and then proceed to blow the league, and/or CL qualification, then it’s a perpetual “Lawwell oot” decision from all of us. His time has come and gone, time to freshen up our approach.

  7. Bhoyjoebelfast on

    A lot of unhappy folk in shankill and east Belfast Liverpool fan clubs..who are also strong fans of sevco AKA Namechangers FC.

  8. Watching Boyata crumble, and morph into a clumsy teenager under a high press in the EPL is going to provide endless entertainment.



    If he had a sense of decency toward the fans, and a sensible head on his shoulders, he would sign a contract with us and screw the nut in a gesture to absolve himself of his transgressions.







    Even taking the refereeing decisions in isolation. Celtic are by far the most wronged team in the league. Some of the decisions this season (alone) have been given by officials safe in the knowledge that they won’t be brought to account. Aberdeen, Kilmarnock, Hearts and sevco have all been vociferous against officials so far, but the team being on the receiving end of them almost on a weekly basis remains silent.


    It looks to me like we’re being bullied and instead of standing up to the bully, we’re just doing nothing except taking it on the chin.



    We’ll still win the league though, and probably the cup.

  10. The bold Pep going bananas at the ref, who i thought had a very good game. Serve up Pep some of John Beaton, now that would be fun.

  11. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Moisey17 on 3rd January 2019 9:51 pm


    Anyone else feel that change or mix of tactics and style of play is as important as signings??




    Yes. Since we lost our first game against Hearts last season, pretty much every defeat has been the same (getting high pressed). Hibs twice, Sevco, Hearts again. And most of our draws have been the same – not being able to break down a packed defence.


    McGregor playing deeper has helped as the ball goes forward quicker. But we still have issues further forward where it often slows down.


    We need to play quicker in the final third. Stretch defences long and wide. Get more combination plays going.


    If we drop as many points in the second half of the season as we did in the first there is a good chance we will lose the league. If we play at our best consistently we should win it comfortably.


    We do need to improve the squad though. When we have more than two or three regulars out the bench starts to look pretty thin.

  12. GG- is it not that we should be at a level or 2 above sevco, therefor we look for the Lustig of a few years ago?



    D. :)

  13. glendalystonsils on

    DAVID17 on 3RD JANUARY 2019 10:15 PM


    The bold Pep going bananas at the ref, who i thought had a very good game. Serve up Pep some of John Beaton, now that would be fun.



    John Beaton might actually do ok reffing in the EPL . He would have an entirely different agenda and set of rules to operate to. If he ignored Morelas-type attacks on any player in an EPL match ,he wouldn’t last a week.

  14. !!BADA BING!! on 3RD JANUARY 2019 10:20 PM


    Morelos off to Leeds 8m quoted






    Leeds Rhinos? ? ?

  15. Not convinced with the strikers we are linked with. Scared of signing Kouassi again maybe. Steven Fletcher would win us the league this year. No risk. No development required. No sell on value.. ! Thought he was brilliant for Scotland recently. Terrific foil for McGregor, Forrest and Christie. Would take the load off Edouard in the short term. A fit and ready Griff would love it too.

  16. Hi Guys.. Sorry for being so cynical, but I’m surprised and disappointed there are so many on here tonight surprised and disappointed by the SFA dismissing their boys assaults last Saturday, their referee and assistant officials following orders and their teams activity in the transfer market, all justified and supported by their press agents.


    I had no idea that there was still naivety out there.. Gawd, we’ve become complacent in the last few years. Were still in the 90’s Guys.. 1890’s or 1990’s, doesn’t matter.


    KTF, but don’t expect it to bring justice or fair play.



  17. 000’s of folk turn up in faith, to hand over £million’s to their club, and the absentee custodians, throw these 000’s of, good, innocent, folk, under, almost every bus that comes along.


    And yet, the 000’s continue to queue up, to be flung under even more buses.


    There is something not computing here, me thinks.


    Something is definitely amiss, something, but what can it be ?


    Can great faith, also be a great weakness ?



    The hands that built you up, can also pull you down. CSC







  18. A rare foray for me into the world of CQN… greetings Bhoys & Ghirls, and a hoopy new year to all.



    NORRIEM (8:33 PM): You might think that is an aged line up, but it’s not much older than this one, which could feature at a midden near the Clyde before the end of the season:



    McGregor 36


    Taverner 27


    Goldson 26


    McAuley 39


    Wallace 31


    Halliday 27


    Davis 34


    Dorrans 31


    Candeias 30


    Lafferty 31


    Defoe 36



    Average age: 31.6



    I wonder how that team would fare at Celtic Park against this Celtic team:



    Bain 27


    Ralston 20


    Ajer 20


    Benkovic 21


    Tierney 21


    Forrest 27


    Ntcham 22


    Rogic 26


    McGregor 25


    Christie 23


    Edouard 20



    The shocking truth is that three of their players could have legally fathered several of ours… and their oldest player could have legally fathered no fewer than SEVEN of ours!



    They won’t have the legs to go all the way, corrupt refereeing or otherwise.

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