Celtic hero Chris Sutton praises recruitment but says tactical issues remain

By Euan Davidson

October 30, 2021

Former Celtic striker and beloved pundit Chris Sutton has praised the club’s recruitment, but insists there’s a tactical dilemma for Ange Postecoglou without Tom Rogic.

Sutton, who won Scottish and English titles during a fantastic playing career, has recently backed Postecoglou to the hilt after a tricky start to life at Celtic.

And it’s recruitment that’s had a huge part to play in that. Albeit, the Greek-Aussie boss is left with a problem in midfield. Tom Rogic will miss 2-3 weeks with a hamstring issue. With Ryan Christie and Olivier Ntcham both gone, the manager has said he’ll need to invest in January.

In his weekly column, Sutton wrote [Daily Record]:

“It’s so important for a manager to get his signings right and, by and large, he’s done a cracking job in that respect.

“Carter-Vickers for a start. Solid and no nonsense. Hart has started well bar a couple of mistakes. Starfelt is improving. Josip Juranovic looks decent.

“At the top end of the pitch, the signings of Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota have lit up Parkhead with Liel Abada also making a reasonable start to life at Celtic.

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“Tom Rogic’s hamstring injury has exposed the midfield situation. He, Callum McGregor and Turnbull have to stay fit and firing until January and the chance to get more provisions into the engine room, so the Australian’s absence poses a problem.

“McGregor can step forward, but Celtic lose tempo when he does because Nir Bitton, Ismaila Soro or McCarthy just don’t have his ability or speed of play.

“It slows them down and makes them easier to defend against.”

Chris Sutton is right; Celtic recruitment has been excellent but more is needed

It’s easy to see where Celtic favourite Chris Sutton is coming from here.

Far from being languid and needing off after an hour, Rogic has looked revitalised. His pace has improved, he makes quick decisions on the ball, and his partnership with Turnbull has started to click.

Without him, Celtic will unavoidably be a slower outfit in midfield, unless Postecoglou banks on someone like Jota or Kyogo stepping in as a number 10.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Bringing a defensive midfielder on helps to some degree. Obviously, it makes Celtic more compact and defensively versatile. However, recent results have come from McGregor playing deeper, and having two attacking midfielders on at once.

It’s a quandary for Postecoglou, certainly. He does have options, but reliance on Turnbull and Rogic has become an issue. An injury to one or both seemed somewhat inevitable.

However, Celtic march on. Livingston arrive today, to face an on-form Bhoys side full of fantastic new faces.

Read more: Celtic manager gives promising update on James Forrest