Callum McGregor highlights 4 Celtic players that seriously impressed him yesterday

By David Walton

April 4, 2022

Callum McGregor has rightfully highlighted the entire Celtic backline for praise after a big showing at Ibrox yesterday.

The Celtic captain bagged his first win as the Hoops’ on-field leader in Govan with an outstanding display. There were a host of players who could’ve been given the man-of-the-match award. Callum was certainly a main contender.

But you couldn’t fail to recognise just how big a performance it was from Celtic’s entire backline. Particularly Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers, who repelled cross after cross into the Hoops penalty area. Stat experts Fotmob ranked CCV as the best performing player on the pitch with a score of 8.6/10. Josip Juranovic and Greg Taylor, meanwhile, recovered from early nerves to put in solid shifts.

Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images

And McGregor has lauded the centre-backs and the full-backs for how they defended as a unit in the most difficult domestic assignment we’ll have before the end of the season.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Callum said: “We had a good compact block, forced the ball on the outside and then we were reasonably well set for the crosses that were coming in. The boys defended brilliantly, the two centre-backs were outstanding coupled with the two full-backs as well. Everyone else was doing their bit.

“You’ve got to defend strong. That’s another side of the game we’ve shown we can do as well. The manager talks about it every day that we defend as an XI. When we’ve got the ball we’re 11 players trying to score, when we don’t have it we’re 11 players trying to defend. I think that’s why we’ve built such a good unit.

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“Maybe from a media point of view the guys who score the goals get the plaudits, that’s normally how football works. The good thing about this group is that everyone has recognised that we work together.”

It’s time to start recognising just how good this Celtic defence is

We have been screaming for months and months on 67HailHail about the quality of this Celtic backline. 19 goals conceded in 32 Premiership matches is absolutely astounding stuff. Especially considering we’re talking about 2 players thrown together who were only signed back in the summer.

Celtic have managed to be rock solid at the back all season with a pairing that’s been given no time to gel. No time to make mistakes. Yet still, it feels as though it gets picked apart whenever we ship a goal.

You still have ridiculous criticism flying around about Carl Starfelt. Carter-Vickers not so much, but the Celtic defence as a whole feels like it gets singled out far too often.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Personally, I believe it’s likely down to the odd mistake that occurs with our style of play. Playing out from the back can sometimes lead to moments of awkwardness in our backline that can be difficult to watch. But the results speak for themselves. Celtic consistently get results and we more often than not beat the press of the opposition.

Even in yesterday’s 2-1 win at Ibrox, the centre-backs eventually got to grips with Rangers’ high pressing after a short period of time. Mistakes didn’t really start creeping in after the initial shaky start, and then our shape and ability to clear all cross balls was an incredible effort.

It’s good to see McGregor putting some respect on the name of this Celtic defence. It would be nice if the media pundits could do the same.

In other news, Celtic can go 9 points clear before title foes play next