Celtic’s ‘false number ten,’ Sandman on moving ‘Calmac’ to an advanced midfield role

I would have titled this ‘McGregor’ but I didn’t want Corpus Christie (the only man on earth not to know which way the Rangers goalkeeper dives) to get the heebie-jeebies.

Since Calmac began playing in tandem with Broon, our European performances have been a cut above traditional away pumpings. However, in the Scottish Premiership we’re not scoring enough to kill teams off.

I believe Calmac is the key.

When he played more advanced, his guile, deft touch and eye for a killer pass were sweet on the eye and wreaked match-winning devastation. In and around oppostion boxes, he was the axis of all that was good, scoring more than a few himself for additional kudos.

Against the Rangers we only began to see chinks of hope when he pushed forward, and that was in spite of the outnumbered tactical set-up. We got the equaliser, looked like we might assert ourselves more, but he withdrew towards the holding position once again and Davis took over.

So what I believe we have to do to secure the NINE is set up with a loose 3-5-2.

Or, for detail – 3-3-3-1:

Back 3 – Ajer, Jullien, and Bitton – who can step into midfield on a whim.

Mid 3 – Broon holding (backed up by Bitton if necessary), Pingpong and Taylor/Boli/Hayes wing-backs – kidding ourselves if we think we can’t play them more advanced given their pace and our dominance.

Advanced 3 – Forrest/A.N Other Winger, Christie, and CALMAC – Christie drifting centre/left, CALMAC given licence to get between their defensive lines and cause havoc/tie up the opposition’s def mid.

Striker- Eddy/January superstar.

That’s the way I see a simple tactical solution to what cost us/may hinder the title.

He’s too creative and too much of a match-winner to play deep in the Scottish Premiership. We used to blow teams away when The Snake used him in an advanced role; it’s how we realised what a player we had. He’s now doing too much hod-carrying.

Lennony will know that. It is a matter of whether he would adapt the side/tactical set-up to use him properly. I don’t think we’ve got much choice – after the ease with which we were overrun and snuffed in the midfield yesterday it’s surely a given to use your best passer and craftsman to inflict maximum damage instead of wasting his guile in a semi-holding role.

Let him roam with licence to kill; a ‘false number ten’ if you like (see what I did there, hipster sound-byte fans!).
He’s got the engine – seems to run on Duracell – so build the side, and the title, around him.


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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who 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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