Chris Sutton delivers verdict on biggest Celtic weakness this season

By David Walton

September 18, 2021

Chris Sutton has pulled up the Celtic centre-backs for their early struggles to the season, but hopes the return of Christopher Jullien will ease any issues.

Celtic have been in scintillating form going forward this season. However, defensively, there have been too many cheap goals conceded. Whilst new signing Cameron Carter-Vickers looks an improvement whilst Stephen Welsh is showing promising signs, fellow summer recruit Carl Starfelt has gotten off to a ropey start.

The Hoops have failed to keep the ball out of their net on eight of 13 matches this season. They also haven’t been helped by the injury to Christopher Jullien, who should hopefully be returning in the coming months.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

Sutton, however, wasn’t left impressed with how Celtic defended their two-goal lead in Betis on Thursday night. And speaking on BT Sport’s Scottish Football Extra show, Sutton said the following:

“Is it a surprise to see Celtic concede soft goals? All of the goals were avoidable. It’s going to get deflating for Celtic supporters to see the team play in an aggressive, attacking manner, scoring goals which you’re virtually guaranteed with Celtic this season.

“But I think I said early on with this Celtic style, the way Celtic play your best two players have to be your centre-halves. But at this moment in time, the Celtic centre-halves this season haven’t been good enough.

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“It may be addressed when Christopher Jullien comes backs.”

Chris Sutton verdict not wrong; Jullien return will boost Celtic

Celtic simply haven’t had a settled partnership at centre-back ever since the season began.

Remember, Ange Postecoglou had to field a partnership of Welsh and Dane Murray in the crucial UCL qualifier against Midtjylland. It’s no surprise it was caught out on a couple of occasions.

Having Jullien out played a key role in that early-season blip. With Kris Ajer leaving for Brentford too, our best centre-backs were all unavailable.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

What has been disappointing has been the performances of Starfelt. Celtic fans need to see an extremely quick improvement on what he’s bringing to the table. Especially when you see how quickly Carter-Vickers has settled into life in the same position.

In terms of Jullien, it’s difficult to pinpoint a certain date for his return to the fold. Postecoglou, however, has included him in his Europa League squad, offering hope he’ll be back before the end of November.

But for now, Celtic have to deal with the cards they have. We shouldn’t be allowing one injury to rock us so hard in one position. Celtic need the coming weeks to bring them chemistry at centre-back – let’s see if that proves to be the case.

In other news, What Callum McGregor said on finishing his career at Celtic back in 2019

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