Celtic’s defensive set-up wasn’t addressed last summer

Conall McGinty’s article on The Celtic Star earlier about Brendan Rodgers having to sort out the Celtic defence as a priority this summer has created plenty of interest and feedback. Here is an opinion from a reader of The Celtic Star, worth sharing this evening as the debate rolls on. Let’s start by linking those who have yet to read Conall’s article with it below…

READ THIS…Sorting the defence must be summer priority for Celtic

Plenty of work is required during the summer

The defensive set up wasn’t really addressed during last summer, and was hardly helped by the injury crisis within the centre-back positions either.

Rodgers made some decisions with possibly choosing to keep Hart and Taylor as 1st choice in their positions, even if many within our support thought it needed to be addressed. This is no longer the case and we still haven’t replaced Starfelt as a partner for CCV with the solid forming for a defensive set up to work properly, in my opinion.

We still remain a fairly brutal team when forced to play on the back foot, which isn’t helping when we aren’t such a dramatic attacking team any longer either. I can understand ourselves wanting to become a more controlled team in our play, which will be a requirement for gaining success in Europe, but we are still some way away for that being achieved, especially with the defensive set up as it currently is.

Yes, I would expect changes within the current structure of the defensive set up within the squad for next season. I don’t believe Scott Bain will be kept in the No.2 keeper role, so potentially we could be looking at two keepers coming in, which should avoid another Barkas situation arising.

 Greg Taylor during the Champions League match between Celtic and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park,  on 25 October 2023. Photo Colin Poultney PSI

I still think that an upgrade is required upon Taylor, even if I wouldn’t be to sure whether Taylor is prepared to play the Ralston role within the squad. Still got Monty and Frame to potentially do the backup role in the position, but hopefully Taylor does stay as a decent enough option within the squad.

CB positions aren’t so straightforward with how the overall squad seems to be currently structured. I think we will be looking at having 5CB within the overall squad next season. So therefore CCV, along with Welsh and Lawal could be requirements to fill the 8 homegrown rule in play. I believe that Nawrocki is a better option than Scales currently for the left sided CB role for the remainder of this season. However, I wouldn’t claim Maik is the permanent solution for the position either next season.

So still possibly need another CB within the squad, which in turn could well mean that there is potentially no place available for Scales. That might be a bit harsh upon Scales who has had a fairly decent season overall for ourselves, especially when it wasn’t expected from him whatsoever as most thought he would be moved on, including myself.

 Liam Scales and Gustaf Lagerbielke celebrate following the victory during the UEFA Champions League match between Celtic FC and Feyenoord at Celtic Park  on December 13, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

If anything is to have be learnt this season is that strength in depth is required within the overall look of the squad, especially with the amount of injuries sustained this season. We already know now that most of the back-up options for Ange aren’t within the plans of Rodgers, so far more work was required than I believe Rodgers expected upon his return.

As much as I can appreciate what Rodgers is trying to build with the overall structure of the squad, there is still some way to go before it’s completed, and this without knowing what changes could occur and decisions upon Paulo Bernardo and Adam Idah still to be made.

Haven’t been overly impressed with the decision making of Rodgers either this season, and to many question marks remains regarding as to whether his methods really is getting the best out of key players who we still depend so much upon, but aren’t hitting there capabilities on a consistent basis this season.

So plenty of work is required during the summer still, but currently plenty of work still required in the remainder of this season has to be produced yet, and of a better standard than yesterday produced also in my opinion.


About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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