Exclusive: Jackie McNamara excited after the first look at Postecoglou's Celtic tactics
Former Celtic captain Jackie McNamara is pleased by what he’s seen of Ange Postecoglou’s new tactical system.
Last night, the Bhoys couldn’t get the win they wanted but looked sharp and tactically exciting as they dominated against FC Midtjylland.
It ended 1-1, but Celtic created plenty of opportunities, with an xG of 1.99 and 63% possession [FotMob]. Additionally, the passing success of previous regimes held up, but with far more purpose in the attacking third.
Tactically, McNamara was impressed by what he saw.
Speaking exclusively to 67 Hail Hail this afternoon, he said: “It looked like [McGregor and Soro] were sitting, but McGregor was bursting forward and making things happen. They seem to have a bit of freedom, which I like. I like it when they’re all moving around.
“Even you can see when they’re starting things off. The two centre-backs were going wide, and the full-backs were coming in to receive it. I was a bit worried… when Greg [Taylor] miscontrolled it. It didn’t cost anything, but again you can see what they’re trying to do.
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“They’re trying to get movement all over the pitch, and make space for others to open [opposition] up. I’d imagine they’re only going to get better at it as well.
“There are other players that have still to come in, the new signings.”
Jackie McNamara sums up the optimism of Celtic supporters
You have to imagine that with a fuller complement of players, and no daft red cards, Celtic might well have won the game last night.
Certainly, it’s what the performance deserved. Postecoglou’s side ramped up the intensity, and after being worryingly slow against Bristol City, it was a real change of pace.
There were some particularly good performances from unlikely sources. Liel Abada starred on his full debut, while Ryan Christie returned from what seemed like the Celtic wilderness to impress on the left-wing.
On Abada, McNamara was impressed, telling 67 Hail Hail:
“It shows you why I’m not a manager, because I wouldn’t have taken [Abada] off!
“I would have taken one of the others off and kept his pace on. Their two centre backs, you could see a couple of times when Edouard picked it up in little pockets, running at their centre-backs, that you could cause problems with pace.
“Which is why they probably spent most of the time in a back 4, protecting their centre-backs.”
It’s an interesting insight, and it’s not hard to see which areas Ange Postecoglou can pinpoint when the Bhoys travel to Denmark for the second leg.
Is this new Celtic team a work in progress? Very much so. However, these were better performances than we’ve seen in a long time from many a Celtic player.
As Jackie says, they’re only going to get better.