Celtic hero Chris Sutton hails star defender; makes cheeky rivals dig in process

By Euan Davidson

January 15, 2022

Celtic favourite Chris Sutton has managed to compliment Cameron Carter-Vickers while getting in a Rangers dig at the same time.

The former striker is turning Celtic-focused punditry into an art form.

Sutton, a popular pundit and a massive player in his day, described Carter-Vickers as the league’s best defender, after a colourful discussion with Ally McCoist on BT Sport Scottish Football Extra. The two argued over the merits of centre-backs in the league, after Rangers had announced a pre-contract deal for John Souttar.

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

McCoist had bristled at the suggestion of Carter-Vickers being “excellent”, a claim made by Sutton on the show. The duo’s rapport has made Scottish Football Extra required viewing, regardless of your allegiance, as the two continually butt heads in amusing fashion.

The former Celtic striker picked at a sore point for McCoist and Rangers fans; the looming contract expiry of centre-back Connor Goldson.

After the televised back-and-forth, Sutton took to Twitter, saying: “Carter Vickers has been the best centre back in the league this season.

“Celtic [have] the best defence in the league this season. Ally is upset as Goldson has had his head turned… another one who wants away…”

Ouch. Sutton wins this one.

“I won’t sell Celtic to anyone” | Ange’s emphatic transfer message

“I won’t sell Celtic to anyone” | Ange’s emphatic transfer message

Obviously, Chris Sutton is right about Celtic defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, as he gets Rangers dig in there

Chris Sutton can come up with some wild takes about Celtic, Rangers and much else. But he’s right here, and the statistics prove it.

We know Celtic have the best defence in the league [Sky Sports]. The eye test would surely show that Cameron Carter-Vickers is the best centre-back in the Scottish Premiership. But if you’re in any doubt, let’s get into the stats here.

The CIES and InStat Performance Index rates Carter-Vickers directly above Goldson. Carter-Vickers is making 1.4 interceptions per 90 [FBref], comfortably more than Goldson [FBref]. Joe Hart has the most clean sheets in the league.

Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

CCV wins almost everything in the air, averaging 3.6 successful duels per 90 over the last year [FBref]. Goldson averages just 1.89. We could go on, but objectively he’s the best centre-back in the league. There’s no real basis for argument here.

So, kudos to Chris Sutton. While bigging up a player who’s mystifyingly underrated in the Scottish top-flight, Sutton has backed Celtic while also getting a shot in at Rangers; always an immensely satisfying activity.

But in all seriousness, Carter-Vickers has quantifiably and comfortably made himself a star player in the Scottish game. If the Hoops can bring him in permanently, it would be amazing business.

Provided he did sign for £6m, it’d put his fee on par with Sutton’s, in 2000. Not bad company to keep at all, I’m sure both would suggest.

Read more: “Not going anywhere”; Ange Postecoglou’s firm message on young Celtic talent