Hibernian boss Lee Johnson admits unique Celtic Park dilemma

By John McGinley

October 15, 2022

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson has dubbed Celtic’s ballboys ‘world class’ and admits their quick actions on the pitch have left him with a team selection headache today.

When Celtic play at home, the young ballboys around the pitch have been tasked with getting the ball back into the hands of players as quickly as possible, facilitating the team’s razor-sharp reactions and set-piece approach.

Johnson has noted that it can be so effective that he is considering changing his starting eleven as a result.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

As quoted by The Edinburgh Evening News, he said: “Celtic’s ball boys are world-class. It’s making me question my team selection, that five seconds in transition. I bet people have never heard this before, but those ballboys are making me question what team I pick.

“We have a saying ‘the ball goes dead, we come alive’, in that we need players who are alive when the ball is dead. It’s reactions to transition and trust, trust that you won’t switch off.

“You have to concentrate for 96 minutes, it’s as simple as that. As a player myself, I would always try to capitalise on a dead ball, get to it quickly, and try to get eye contact with the striker when the defence was organising. It’s about that speed of play, the relentless tempo – in the end, that’s what catches people out.”

Hopefully, we see a switched-on performance from everyone involved with Celtic today. We’ve seen in matches this season how devastating our quick throw-ins and free-kicks can be – most notably against Rangers.

Johnson may well think it can be prepared for, but many teams have found out it’s a lot different in practice compared to simply noting it can happen.

We should be in for an entertaining match this afternoon, regardless, with Hibs clearly coming with a gameplan.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou issues Club Brugge reminder after Celtic comparisons.