Benkovic and Boyata finally look like the answer for Celtic

By David Walton

October 19, 2018

Celtic finally seem to have found the answer to their defensive headache in Filip Benkovic and Dedryck Boyata.

The pair have been Celtic’s main partnership since Benkovic walked in the door on deadline-day. Despite only being on-loan from Leicester City, Benkovic has looked the part in every game he’s played.

Granted, the Rugby Park surface postponed our viewing of the potential between Benkovic and Boyata. Now, however, we’re starting to see it in full effect.

Boyata is in-form (TF-Images/Getty Images)

Since the start of the season, everyone and their dog have been queuing up to criticise Celtic’s defence. If it’s not Jack Hendry then it’s Jozo Simunovic. Boyata’s summer saga also didn’t help matters as Celtic crashed out of the Champions League qualifiers.

It was a hellish period for Hoops fans, and defensive recruits had to be made. Thankfully for the Hoops, however, Benkovic has arrived and is looking solid alongside Boyata.

Composure beyond his years

What’s impressed most about Benkovic is his composure on the ball. Despite only arriving at Celtic just weeks ago, and playing in a new country, he’s not shy in distributing possession. He’s spent pretty much all of his playing career in his home country of Croatia, but you certainly wouldn’t know it.

He’s also seemed to give Boyata a new lease of life at the same time. Together, the pair have kept clean sheet after clean sheet, and are now Celtic’s number one defensive partnership by some distance.

For Hoops fans, the most important thing now is finding out that Benkovic isn’t injury prone. The astroturf surface at Killie wasn’t ideal, but Benkovic needs to stay injury-free if Celtic are to do anything in Europe in particular. Injuries can’t continue.

Filip Benkovic looks composed (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

The lack of strength in depth at centre-back remains a concern. Hendry is nowhere near good enough, and all Hoops fans can see that. Simunovic is still adored by many Celtic fans for nearly destroying Kenny Miller. Since then, however, he’s done next to nothing in a Celtic jersey.

Neither of the pair will be good enough to come back in and make a strong impact. Therefore, it’s down to the two defenders in place at the moment to do the business. Huge tests will await this Celtic side as the season goes on, and it’s therefore important both are up to the task at Celtic.

So far, however, the partnership between Benkovic and Boyata is blossoming. Now, however, the key is keeping both men fit and getting them on a consistent run.