Demons defeated, Bitton bounces back; 3 things we learned from Aberdeen 1-2 Celtic
Celtic finally managed to overcome their away-day demons and secure a massive 2-1 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
It wasn’t overly pretty, but Ange Postecoglou needed that result. A big win against one of the top sides in Scotland away from home. It’s the kind of standalone result that can really bolster the confidence as we head into the second international break of the season.
Kyogo Furuhashi chested home the opener before Aberdeen levelled with a disappointing equaliser through Lewis Ferguson. Thankfully, Jota poked home a late winner to secure a big win. It was a promising show of character despite the fact it wasn’t the most convincing of displays.
And here, we take a look at 3 things we learned from the crucial victory:
Nir Bitton still has a role in an Ange Postecoglou Celtic team
Everyone was surprised to see Nir Bitton thrown into the starting XI today. It was his first start since the 4-2 win in Jablonec back in early August.
He’s been given several cameos in recent weeks at the back. However, Postecoglou today utilised the Israeli as part of a three-man midfield.
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Celtic fans had been screaming for the manager to halt the Tom Rogic/David Turnbull partnership in the midfield. Today, Postecoglou finally listened as he added a more defensive-minded talent to the ranks in Nir.
Celtic didn’t boss the game by any means this afternoon, but it added a better balance to the engine room. As much as we wanted the Hoops to be more of an attacking threat, you can’t deny that we managed to see the game out relatively well. This was partly due to the fact that Celtic had an extra man helping to halt any counter-attacks through the central area.
Where Aberdeen got the little joy they did came down the wide areas. Bitton can feel he carried out his role successfully this afternoon. He kept it simple and gave both the backline and midfield a safe option.
It’s clear Nir still has a role to play under Postecoglou. There weren’t many standouts, but there’s no reason for the Israeli to feel he can’t leave Pittodrie with his head held high.
As injury-crisis eases, Celtic are slowly improving
Over the last week, Celtic have shown signs of improvement, however gradual they may be.
You couldn’t compare today’s performance to what we produced against Livingston for example in terms of character. We also battled a lot harder than we did against Dundee United a week ago.
Our most recent performances against Bayer Leverkusen and Aberdeen have shown certain signs of improvement that the Celtic fans will be pleased by. If not overly delighted by.
Our 4-0 defeat on Thursday night came with plenty of opportunities for Celtic to score a few themselves. It was a lot more of a battling display than what the scoreline suggested. Today’s game against Aberdeen, meanwhile, saw Celtic put in a battling display to win by a narrow advantage. Something you wouldn’t have banked on us producing a week or two ago.
It’s no secret as to why this is the case. With McGregor and Furuhashi back, we’re starting to get our best XI on the pitch once again.
Hopefully, the likes of Chris Jullien and Josip Juranovic can add to the mix after the international break. The more players we get back, the more solid we should look.
Celtic showing no improvement with defensive distribution
A large part of the system under Ange Postecoglou is the distribution from the back. He wants his teams to control the ball and pass their way out of trouble regardless of how deep we are.
Today, we were all over the place when it came to that particular trait.
It’s not so much that the Hoops were getting caught out with it a lot. More often than not the likes of Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers were just getting away with it by the skin of their teeth. The same goes for Anthony Ralston and Adam Montgomery.
But at times we were seeing our centre-backs simply blooter the ball out of play under pressure. This was because we had pushed ourselves back into so much trouble that there was no other option.
Postecoglou doesn’t appear to have the players to fit this system. It’s a major concern and a problem he desperately needs to solve.
It’s not the main thing that almost cost us today. But let’s not kid ourselves, it threw unnecessary pressure onto the backline.