Collectively Celtic have been underperforming for most of this season. Assigning blame to individuals is often unfair in that context.
However, one area of the team can’t seem to get its act together no matter who lines up.
Celtic have now conceded ten goals in the Scottish Premiership from 11 games.
That may sound like alright going for most teams, but when you compare the record to our direct rivals, Rangers, it’s abysmal.
Steven Gerrard’s team have only conceded three to date, despite playing a game more. They kept another clean sheet today.
On BBC Radio Scotland this afternoon, it was one of the punditry team’s main talking points during our 3-3 draw.
That’s natural when former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner and Aberdeen legend Willie Miller get together.
Those two know a thing or two about defending at the highest level.
Their verdict? It wasn’t pretty.
Miller said of Aberdeen’s second goal, when Shane Duffy was caught out, as quoted by BBC Scotland (13:25): “It was a poor, poor goal for Celtic to give away. Shane Duffy down the left-hand side should be dealing with it much better, and then what is Ajer doing sitting off Sam Cosgrove? I can’t believe that. No way is it handball, it’s just tragic defending.”
Duffy has played in the top-flight of the English Premier League and captains his country, yet can’t seem to do any sort of job for us at the moment. He is surely better than the evidence so far?
His form is a huge worry considering he was one of Neil Lennon’s sought after summer signings.
Bonner turned his sights to Ajer meanwhile, telling BBC Scotland: “The penalty is the right decision but Celtic were all over the place at the back. Ajer has left far too much room behind him all day. Very poor from Celtic.
“I think the general performance was better from Celtic today. The defensive side has let them down even after going to the back four. Duffy and Ajer were left exposed several times.
“I don’t think Neil Lennon knows his best defensive partnership between the five he’s got. Whether it’s a three of a four at the back they haven’t looked comfortable.”
It doesn’t fill me with joy to agree with damning criticism of Celtic, but again, I feel Bonner is spot on here.
Ajer offers us plenty moving forward, especially when he carries the ball into his midfield, but if he can’t do the basics at the back, he isn’t much use there.
Unless the manager can figure out how to sort this defence, we will go nowhere this season. It will all end in tears.
We can’t rely on this midfield and attack to outscore the opposition every time, especially with a lack of atmosphere and energy in the game due to the ongoing pandemic.
Change is needed.