Celtic still want more control in games despite recent form

By David Walton

October 26, 2021

Celtic are still looking to assert more control on games despite their recent upturn in form.

The Hoops have bounced back from early-season scrutiny to secure 4 consecutive wins. Another 3 points at Easter Road will have many believing a title-challenge is indeed on.

The recent surge in results has come via putting the likes of Aberdeen, Motherwell, Ferencvaros, and St Johnstone to the sword respectively.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

However, after large periods of those games came with lulls in the performance levels, Callum McGregor has revealed that the Hoops are still working on securing more control across the entire 90 minutes.

Speaking to 67HailHail at a fan media conference today, Callum said: “We probably wanted more control in the games. Previous to that (the St Johnstone game), it was a little bit like ‘we attack, you attack’ and it became a little bit stretched the games.

“So that’s something that we have been looking at in terms of trying to control the game more, control the ball, build-up the pitch and get set for our attack. If it breaks down then everyone’s together, go and press the ball and win the ball back.

Anton McElhone’s influence at Celtic is already being felt

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Anton McElhone’s influence at Celtic is already being felt
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“What that does is it brings teams further back down the pitch which kills the counter-attack.”

Celtic still looking for a dominant 90-minute showing

One of the interesting aspects of our recent games has been the times in which we’ve stepped off the gas. It’s happened in all 4 of our matches in which we’ve managed to secure the points.

Despite the level of control we had against St Johnstone, it still took a good 25 minutes or so to get going. Not to mention we also had a poor first 45 against Ferencvaros last midweek too. We know the performance at Pittodrie wasn’t the best, whilst there were moments against Motherwell in which we struggled to keep control.

There are signs of improvement. Celtic were in no danger whatsoever when Saints came to visit on Saturday. That’s a promising sign, as McGregor says, that the team is improving when it comes to 90-minute control.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Tomorrow night’s game against Hibs, meanwhile, will be a key test of how well we can control a tough away fixture. Jack Ross’ side always look to start brightly against the Hoops and put us under pressure from the back. How we react to that will be key to gaining a foothold.

Controlling the game of course doesn’t mean chances galore for 90 minutes. That’s a highly unrealistic expectation of the players. What it does mean, however, is that we’re in minimal danger and able to play the game at a tempo that suits us. You couldn’t say that was the case at the beginning of the wins against Ferencvaros and St Johnstone respectively.

All eyes on tomorrow then to see just how we do on a tense away night.

In other news, Callum McGregor addresses new Head of Sports Science at Celtic