Emilio Izaguirre took to the left-back spot once again against St Johnstone last night, and quite simply wasn’t very good.
The Honduran is a fans-favourite after a hugely successful seven years at Parkhead between 2010 and 2017. He was brought in once more last summer to provide cover for Kieran Tierney. But, it’s safe to say, so far that hasn’t quite been the case.
Sure, Izaguirre has played the last four matches and is the first reserve for superstar Tierney. But Celtic aren’t getting much of a positive influence from him.
Izzy is no longer making those lung-bursting runs down the left. At his age, that’s understandable. Yet, so often against St Johnstone last night, he had to be running into space to create openings for other teammates. Instead, however, he often stayed in a more defensive position, and it gave the Saints one less problem to think about.
Added to that, the veteran has made a few defensive blunders already this season. The penalty kick at Aberdeen and being caught out for his pace at Hibs are two standouts. The Hoops also simply aren’t getting enough from him going forward either.
No Tierney return on the horizon
So work really should’ve been done to bulk up our cover in that area. With Tierney still injured and no return date on the horizon, Izaguirre is likely to remain as the main left-back until Tierney comes back.
Reliable cover for left-back has been something Celtic have needed for a little while now. It should’ve been something the club were working on throughout the winter-break.
Whilst Izaguirre has been a sensational servant to Celtic and will always be fondly thought of, his race has been run. Mistakes will continue to happen if Izzy is in there for the long-term, and he doesn’t deserve that.
Links to left-back Bryan Oviedo have been reportedly rubbished by Celtic, but there’s no denying they could’ve used a new one before the end of the transfer window tonight.