Ange Postecoglou brilliantly defends Celtic backline from out-of-date narrative

By David Walton

October 26, 2021

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has sprung to the defence of his Hoops backline and dismissed the tiring narrative of their early-season struggles.

Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers have combined to form a solid centre-back pairing for Celtic in recent weeks. So much so that the Hoops have the strongest defensive record in the Premiership with only 6 goals conceded in 10 games. Only Dundee United can boast the same.

It comes after a problematic start to the campaign for Starfelt in particular. Some poor individual mistakes at the back led to crucial goals being shipped both domestically and in Europe. Whisper it quietly however, because Celtic actually have a run of 3 clean sheets on the go.

Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

And Postecoglou has moved to credit his backline and dismiss any narrative that there’s still struggles ongoing in that department. Speaking via Celtic TV this afternoon, the Celtic boss said: “I’ve said a few times it’s not about the clean sheets, it’s about how we defend. We’ve got a really settled defence line which I think is important when you’re talking about organisation. Having some sort of understanding helps that, and the back 4 and Joe now have been a lot more settled. We’ve made 1 or 2 changes here and there but for the most part, they’ve been settled and I think that’s helped. We’ve defended well as a team.

“Look, I know people keep harping on about it, but we obviously played 2 very good teams in Betis and Leverkusen who put 4 past us. But aside from that, teams have struggled to score against us, so I don’t think it’s been that much of an issue as others have made out.

“From our perspective, our defensive work is as a collective. The strikers are working hard, midfielders are working hard, and that gives the opportunity for our defenders and Joe to have minimal impact on our goal.”

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Celtic defence is no longer struggling and hasn’t been for some time

For some reason, this idea that our backline has been causing us issues just won’t go away. It seems as though our defenders can barely misplace a pass without it being overly-scrutinised and Celtic being accused of struggling defensively.

The truth is you can’t really complain about the performances of Starfelt and Carter-Vickers. Absolutely nothing has been getting through them in recent weeks, and that’s led to Joe Hart having minimal work to do.

Can you remember many big Joe Hart saves at Fir Park? What about any major stops against Ferencvaros? Undoubtedly, the 2-0 success against St Johnstone on Saturday was as routine as it gets. You simply cannot complain about what’s being brought to the table by the Parkhead defence.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

To say they’re still struggling is now laughable and so far beyond its expiry date. It’s actually becoming one of the strongest areas of our team. If it truly is having problems, goodness knows how the rest of the league is performing.

Tomorrow night at Easter Road will of course be a fine test for them. It’s the kind of match that can truly prove just how much progress a solid backline has made in its time together.

Hopefully, another clean sheet is earned and we move a step closer to stopping all discussion on this.

In other news, Liel Abada situation explained after being dropped to Celtic bench