Starfelt Key to Celtic Success in Spain…
As we look forward to another adventure on the continent, sweet, sunny, Seville is once again the destination for Celtic, this time for Ange and his Bhoys. European competition is a vital adrenaline to the Celtic support, providing excitement throughout the months preceding the festive season – and very occasionally beyond.
In the city where we fell to José Mourinho’s Porto, we have the chance to stick some early points on the board and gain some headway in a tricky group. In order for us to achieve this objective, it is of the utmost importance we defend vigilantly and maintain organisation.
Key to this performance will be our newest Swede, Carl Starfelt. Up to now, Carl has been a mixed bag to be fair, making the odd mistake here and there and looking scatterbrained at times. This is natural with a settling in period with many players, and I have no doubt in my mind that he will come good in the weeks and months ahead.
However, tomorrow the big fella must be on his game. I thought after his mistake in Holland that he came back to perform admirably, and show that there is a serious defender in there. What has been highlighted about Carl is that he can sometimes be over-eager to get through players to get to the ball; this is only exacerbated when he has already made a mistake or given the ball away.
Ange has obviously tried to protect him, by simplifying his game and moving him between both sides of central defence recently. It has been a good idea, which protects the player’s confidence – ensuring he doesn’t end up like Vasilis Barkas (Jesus wept).
A big performance is needed by Starfelt if Celtic are to leave Andalusia with anything other than defeat. His positioning and his communication must both be beyond reproach to keep Betis at bay. The game against Ross County at the weekend saw him betwixt and between, when the Staggies had the opportunity to cross the ball into Celtic’s box. This cannot happen in Spain, otherwise Celtic will be punished like so many times in the past on the road.
With his new partner, Cameron Carter-Vickers looking assured and imperious in the air, we might have the blooming of a solid centre-back pairing. This would be confirmed more so, if Starfelt keeps it together and replicates the second half of the Az Alkmaar tie, in the city which gained us notoriety once again in Europe.
Over to you, Carl mate.