Ange Postecoglou on the "overlooked" but impressive part of his Celtic team

By Euan Davidson

November 18, 2021

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has been impressed by the defensive side of his Bhoys team.

The Hoops have conceded the fewest goals in the Premiership. At home, they’ve conceded just one league goal all season. That’s despite criticism of Ange Postecoglou and his gung-ho, “kamikaze” approach.

With the additions of Carl Starfelt, Josip Juranovic and Cameron Carter-Vickers, Celtic have put together a solid back-four. Anthony Ralston’s rapid improvement has made him a must-pick. Meanwhile, there’s Greg Taylor and Christopher Jullien to make their returns.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Asked by John Reid, formerly of this parish and of the excellent GIGPOD, whether the defence was “overlooked”. Postecoglou agreed that the defensive side of the game was improving at Celtic. But, the manager insisted, there was more work to do.

Ange Postecoglou said [Celtic FC]:

“It’s been progressing like the rest of our game. I think we’re getting a lot more solid defensively. That’s not just down to Joe [Hart], the defenders, that’s the whole team.

“Our structure is better. We’re better organised. There’s still areas where we can improve, but for the most part I think defensively… there’s been a couple of European games where we’ve conceded against some quality sides. Aside from that, we’ve been fairly consistent.

“More importantly, I think we’ve been improving. I think we’ll continue to improve in those areas as we move along. It is an important part of our game, we don’t discount the defensive aspects.

“Even though we want to be an aggressive, attacking team, the foundation for that is to make sure that we’re keeping the opposition away from our goal as much as possible.”

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Ange Postecoglou is right to take some satisfaction from improve Celtic defence

Ange Postecoglou undoubtedly inherited an utter mess at Celtic. Particularly in defence.

We had barely anyone there. In vital positions, the likes of Kristoffer Ajer was on his way out. Jonjoe Kenny’s tenure at right-back is best forgotten. It was patchwork at best.

Corners and free kicks were practically open goals. The Celtic defence were utterly hopeless at dealing with the ball in the air. It was a mess.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Now? Celtic win the most aerial duels in the league [WhoScored?]. Anthony Ralston and Cameron Carter-Vickers have, according to scouting resources, been the league’s best players.

Carl Starfelt may not have convinced initially. But he’s become comfortable, solid even. Elsewhere, we have several options at left back. It’s a much improved picture from when we started the league campaign.

Postecoglou is right, though; it’s not just the defenders. Ball-winning from advanced positions has helped an enormous amount. It’s an all-round attacking and defensive effort the Celtic boss is trying to espouse here.

It can only get better as Postecoglou establishes his best back four. The future’s bright.

Read more: Celtic missed golden opportunity yesterday to provide clarity on future of boardroom figure