Celtic’s defensive record since the winter break has been surreal, but it still deserves more credit.
Not only since the winter break either, but throughout the whole campaign.
In Celtic’s 36 domestic matches so far, they’ve managed to keep 24 clean sheets. In total, they’ve conceded just 17 goals. Despite plenty being made by supporters about their run of eight consecutive domestic clean sheets, the truth is the form has been great at the back all season.
Added to that, it’s actually been done without a settled back four too.
Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer are the current centre-back partnership. Outside of a penalty at Tynecastle and an unsportsmanlike goal from Motherwell, they’ve had nothing go past them since winter.
But they aren’t the only duo to have been considered the number one centre-back partnership at Celtic this season either. Filip Benkovic and Jozo Simunovic have also been in there too. Jack Hendry has even had 17 appearances as Celtic have failed to have a regular, consistent partnership.
All four of the centre-backs outside of Hendry have managed over 20 appearances this season. Boyata has 31, Simunovic has 21, Ajer has 32, and Benkovic is on 23. That’s an incredible lack of consistency at the back, and an even more incredible defensive record because of it.
There have been European woes
European football has of course been a different story. Celtic shipped 11 goals in eight Europa League games. But with the quality of opposition they were up against in the likes of RB Salzburg and Valencia, it’s difficult to criticise there.
The defensive record has also continued to shine under turmoil after Brendan Rodgers’ departure. It’s even been thrown sagas throughout the season such as Benkovic’s injury and Boyata’s Athens debacle.
When it comes to underrated stars, you can include all four of the centre-backs in there for keeping up a sterling defensive record under consistently trying circumstances.
In their seven cup ties this season, Celtic have also only shipped one goal. Their record is simply terrific, but it can’t stop now.
Ajer and Boyata look like being the partnership until at least an injury hits either of them. But with the way things are going, Celtic will continue to motor at the back anyway.