Belgium coach Shaun Maloney has been singing the praises of Celtic for how they’ve performed since the winter break.
At the moment, the Hoops look untouchable. Five wins from five with all league games having been won by a bit to spare. It’s been enough to see Rangers crack too, after they struggled in a defeat to Hearts and a draw at home to Aberdeen respectively.
Celtic are doing exactly what they did last season and seriously turning up the heat on Steven Gerrard’s side. And we’re doing so with a host of different formations and styles too.
Maloney, who came through to the academy at the club to make over 130 appearances in two different spells (Transfermarkt), has been bigging up the title race. And speaking in the Daily Record, he’s hailed Celtic’s form and depth.
“Looking from the outside, Celtic’s squad looks formidably strong. They’ve recruited another midfielder in Soro and brought in Klimala to add to their striking options so that’s only enhanced their squad.
“Since they’ve resumed from the winter break they’ve used a variety of formations and systems and they look to have really good options within all of them. They’ve used a 4-4-2, a diamond, a 3-5-2 and a 4-4-3 so they have lots of options.
“We will see how the new boys settle, some players settle quicker than others. Players who come in with a bigger profile shouldn’t bring a negative impact within the squad.”
Lennon looking for vibrancy
Celtic boss Neil Lennon certainly hasn’t been scared to mix things up with his formations. As Maloney says, he’s tried a host of different set-ups and they’ve all looked to have injected some freshness to the team.
It’s been interesting to note both the regular three at the back and two strikers up top. The Celtic boss has been throwing more at games, with Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard central to their forward plans.
However, what has been risked is space at the back. In every game since we’ve returned, the opposition has either scored or missed some real sitters. Even St Johnstone had their moments against us on the counter, and that’s an area we’ll have to be wary of at Motherwell this Wednesday.
But Lennon had to do something heading into the winter break. He couldn’t simply stick with what he had been utilising towards the end of December. The football was growing stale and teams were well wise to it.
The manager deserves credit for being open to heavy change. It’s effectively what’s helped turn this title-race around, and has given us a meaty advantage heading into a crucial stage of the campaign.
So it’s no surprise to see Maloney hailing our adaptability. Something had to change, and Lennon looks to have found a new preferred style.