Jackie McNamara on why Celtic boss Postecoglou has an interesting choice at left-back

By Euan Davidson

February 24, 2022

Jackie McNamara has backed Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic for a berth on the left-hand side against Bodo/Glimt this evening.

Juranovic started on the left against Dundee, with Anthony Ralston doing a fine job on the opposite flank. The Croatia international has played a number of games on his supposedly weaker side. He’s performed admirably in a season where Ralston has won plenty of headlines.

It’s not just about Ralston, though. McNamara, a former Celtic full-back who could play on either side, believes it would give the Hoops a defensive advantage to play the right-footed Juranovic to counter Bodo/Glimt’s attacking threat.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Hoops were repeatedly undone on our left-hand side, with Greg Taylor having a difficult game against the Norwegian champions.

In a chat with 67 Hail Hail, Jackie McNamara said [67 Hail Hail]: “If he’s going for it, I think he would start Juranovic at left-back.

“When you see the lad [Solbakken] come in on his left-hand side for the second goal, he’d be coming on to Juranovic’s right foot there when he’s coming back inside. So naturally, it’s an easier one to defend, rather than if it’s Greg [Taylor] or a left-back, they’re coming on to their weaker right foot. He could look at doing it that way.

“And, because I thought Ralston done well in the Dundee game at the weekend.”

“Something special could happen tomorrow” | Bodø/Glimt vs Celtic Preview with Jackie McNamara

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Jackie McNamara might be right; from a number of perspectives, Celtic playing Juranovic on the left works

It’s really not Juranovic’s preferred way of playing, but it’s hard to disagree with Jackie McNamara here.

Ola Solbakken was a considerable threat at Celtic Park. Good as Greg Taylor can be, the former Killie man struggled. Juranovic, who offers more defensively and going forward, has positional versatility. Putting him on Solbakken’s preferred side would surely help.

Liam Scales is also a shout, but again, it comes down to Juranovic’s natural right-footedness. It does perhaps narrow the scope of Celtic’s attacks, having a right-footed left-back, but it’s not hampered us creatively in the past. Not substantially, anyway.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Juranovic has shone at European level for Celtic. In the Europa League, he was consistently impressive, even dinking a chipped penalty over Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Hradecky.

He’s a player in form, and so is Anthony Ralston on the other side.

It’s a good dilemma to have. We’d have to back our man Jackie McNamara here; tactically, Juranovic starting on the left makes the most sense here.

Read more: Aiden McGeady opens up on the mental impact of playing for Celtic