Celtic’s Defensive Issues without CCV and AJ

After two games in a row without a win, Ange’s Celtic will be as determined as ever to get back to winning ways when they face Hibernian tomorrow night at Easter Road. Much has been said regarding the Celts recent drop in form with many pointing to the absence of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Alistair Johnston, something Ange has refused to do.

“It’s not one player, it’s got nothing to do with Cameron Carter Vickers. We’ve missed them before, we played Champions League football without Carter Vickers. That’s the easy thing to look at. That’s not how we view things,” Ange Postecoglou.

However, it would be dismissive and naive to say Celtic have not missed Carter-Vickers and Johnston in recent weeks. Their strength and aggression in defending has not been replicated by their replacements, with Yuki Kobayashi, Tomoki Iwata and Anthony Ralston all flattering to deceive in recent weeks.

 Yuki Kobayashi of Celtic applauds the fans following the team’s victory in the Scottish Cup Fourth Round match between Celtic and Greenock Morton at Celtic Park Stadium on January 21, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It would be reactionary to say Celtic need huge investment in defensive areas in the summer, but questions should be asked regarding our depth in those areas. Yuki Kobayashi struggled with the physicality at Ibrox and wasn’t in the side for the St Mirren game with his replacement Tomoki Iwata failing to shine in his absence.

Carl Starfelt has not been his usual self either in recent weeks either with the Swedish international being at fault for two goals the Celts have conceded in the past two games.

Tomoki Iwata of Celtic FC celebrates victory after the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park on March 08, 2023 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It cannot be denied that if Celtic wish to make any impact on the UEFA Champions League next season, a big, strong centre half seems to be a particular area that will need filling. There has been promising progress in this particular area with Sky Sports linking Celtic to 6-foot 5 centre half Xavier Mbuyamba but no formal bid has been made yet.

Zain Westbrooke of Bristol Rovers battles for possession with Xavier Mbuyamba of Chelsea during the Papa John’s Trophy match between Bristol Rovers and Chelsea U21 at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2021 (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

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With a trip to Easter Road up next, questions remain in regard to who Ange will pick to accompany Carl Starfelt in Edinburgh. With both Kobayashi and Iwata failing to impress when given the chance, could Irish u21 international Bosun Lawal be given an opportunity at centre half?

Ange’s Celtic never stop, but they have in recent weeks. Postecoglou will look to rectify this recent blip in form as the Hoops chase a first treble under the Aussie.

James French

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  1. What were the 2 goals that Starfelt was responsible for? He had been our best player by a mile in our last 2 games. Get off his back FFS

    • James ffrench on

      At fault for the goal at Ibrox and the second one against St Mirren at the weekend