DEDRYCK BOYATA looked ahead to Celtic’s trip to Dens Park on Sunday and predicted that it’s going to be a tough challenge despite having won comfortably by 5-0 on the last visit to play Dundee back in October.
“It’s never easy playing away from home in this league, and every team raises their game against Celtic, here at Celtic Park, and especially at their own home grounds,” Boyata told the Celtic View.
“The last time we played Dundee at their ground we had a good result, and the last time we played that at home, it was the same,” the Belgian said, referring to the 3-0 home win in December.
“But we never take anything for granted, we expect a tough game and it’s up to us to work out how to break teams down and score goals and get three points.
“We’ll prepare for Dundee ahead of Sunday, and then when the time comes, we’ll be in the best position to do that.”
Filip Benkovic is nearing full fitness and is desperate to be back in time for the game against the Rangers at the end of the month. However in his absence Boyata has been paired with Kris Ajer by both Brendan Rodgers and after he left, Neil Lennon and that partnership has looked particularly impressive.
Boyata has been over the course before and knows how increasingly important each game becomes as the business end of the season gets underway. He’s also been at Celtic long enough to know that there’s seldom a dull moment!
You wonder if he’ll choose to stay around or perhaps seek fresh challenges elsewhere, whether that’s with Rodgers at Leicester or somewhere else.
But for now he’s fully focused on Celtic.
“It’s almost impossible to play all the time in every single game, so we need to be ready to change things up and have players like Kris, like Jozo, like Filip, like Jack all ready to slot in,” Boyata said.
“This season, all of the defenders, all of the centre-backs, we’ve all had to work together in different ways, and this is a great group of players.
“We’ve maybe had more injuries in those central defensive areas than we’d have liked at times this year, but that’s why it’s so important to have a good squad, full of players who are ready to go whenever they’re called upon.
“At the moment, myself and Kris Ajer are playing well together, and we need to keep that going. It’s always difficult to play against a team that sits in and defends with 10 men behind the ball for the majority of the game.
“We’ve played against a lot of teams who choose that style of play over the years, and Saturday was no different to that. It’s up to us to find ways to counteract that, and find ways to adapt in those situations.
“Aberdeen did defend well on Saturday, though. They were disciplined, structured, and we were a bit flat so we move on. Again, we’ve been so good this year so far, since we came back from the break, so we take the point and look forward to Dundee this Sunday.”