Ange Postecoglou explains the 3 changes to his Celtic defence

By Euan Davidson

September 23, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has explained the reasoning behind his new-look Celtic defence against Raith Rovers.

In what was a very strong line-up to face the Championship team, Postecoglou welcomed back Carl Starfelt, Anthony Ralston and Adam Montgomery, the latter of who has been utilised further up the pitch.

Speaking to Premier Sports, the Celtic manager had no issue going over his selections.

Against Livi, Stephen Welsh, Josip Juranovic and – somewhat surprisingly – Boli Bolingoli started in defence. All three missed out, although you’d suspect Juranovic could become first-choice soon enough.

Unfortunately, Celtic haven’t been able to establish much of a defensive rhythm. There have been some clean sheets, including 3 in the league, but new personnel, injuries and fatigue

The Celtic manager said [Premier Sports]:

“Carl [Starfelt] missed the weekend, he wasn’t feeling well. Tony [Ralston] missed a few games, so it’s good to get him back in.

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“With Monty at left back, we’ve been keen to give him a chance at that position. We’ve had to play him out of position a fair bit, so I hope it’s an opportunity.”

Ange Postecoglou nearing a favoured Celtic defence?

Certainly, Starfelt and Carter-Vickers are his guys. They represent the pairing that Postecoglou brought in, and to use them as much as possible makes sense.

Montgomery, meanwhile, may have made his debut under John Kennedy, but he’s progressed under Postecoglou. As has Anthony Ralston, something of a forgotten man until the Greek-Aussie arrived in the Celtic dugout.

With both Montgomery and Ralston bombing forward in the first-half, there’s plenty of energy and pace there.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Both full-backs were also pressuring Raith’s wingers, with Ralston covering Zanatta with consummate ease.

Carter-Vickers and Starfelt may need time to adapt to splitting so wide, given the shape of the manager’s preferred set-up.

However, neither – in the first half – seemed troubled.

There’s plenty of work needed, and time will be vital to gel, but Postecoglou has genuine options at the back.

In other news: Celtic manager gets involved to add fantastic match-day feature for fan group