Ange Postecoglou signals Tomoki Iwata and Callum McGregor Celtic combo; possible formation change

By John McGinley

January 29, 2023

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has been discussing his midfield options this weekend, signalling that new signing Tomoki Iwata’s presence could see Callum McGregor alter his role.

McGregor is primarily played as the sitting ‘number six’ at the base of the Bhoys midfield, which is also where Iwata is at his strongest.

Now, the arrival of the J-League MVP could see McGregor moved to a more forward-thinking role – the kind that Reo Hatate, Aaron Mooy and Matt O’Riley are currently used for. In fact, we could even see Celtic formation changes in the future.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As quoted by The Sunday Post [29/01 print edition, Post Match supplement page 7], Postecoglou said: “It gives us more options, and we can change things around a bit. We can even change the formation at times – not necessarily short-term but over the long-term. We want to be able to do that. Obviously, Callum has been outstanding – and he is outstanding wherever you play him.

“We had a period where he was out, and we put Matt O’Riley back there. Matt did a great job for us, but we didn’t have an obvious guy who could come in and play that role. Tomoki is a different type of No. 6, and I think he and Cal could play together.

“That’s something we will look at. The key thing is it gives us more options and flexibility around the way we can set up the team. The beauty of having someone like Callum is that wherever you put him, you don’t lose any effectiveness.”

Postecoglou has been pretty consistent with his formations since arriving as Celtic boss, so a change-up in that regard would certainly be intriguing if that is in the works for next season.

Undoubtedly, the manager is building a squad of versatile players who can play multiple roles, allowing the Bhoys to more effectively make tactical tweaks for specific challenges.

When considering the European challenges ahead and how they differ from our domestic tests, that could be key. Perhaps a ‘double pivot’ defensive midfield is the way Celtic could go in the UEFA Champions League.

In other news, 3 changes, big returns; Celtic Predicted XI vs Dundee United.