It's time Celtic boss told Frimpong to take on his man

By David Walton

December 24, 2020

This is really starting to irritate me so, as a Celtic man, I need to get it off my chest.

Jeremie Frimpong has absolutely everything you want in a winger. He always wants the ball, always takes on huge responsibility, and has electric pace.

When he broke through at Parkhead last season, that pace was shown regularly. He was sensational in the Betfred Cup semi-final against Hibs at Hampden. He was also brutally destroying Aberdeen’s backline at Pittodrie in a 4-0 rout back in October 2019.

The reason for this? He was constantly taking on his man. He knew that if he could knock the ball beyond his opponent then he could dart past him. As soon as that happens, the opposition is in trouble.

But this season, we’re barely seeing any of that from Jeremie. He did, however, show a glimpse last night.

A superb turn to get away from his man saw him run to the byline and cutback for David Turnbull. Celtic 1-0 Ross County. It was beautiful to watch for the supporters and superb execution from the Dutchman.

That’s what he should be all about. He has absolutely any full-back in this country on toast when he decides to take them on. But after that we didn’t see it again as the Staggies sneaked away with only a 2-0 loss.

Celtic need more directness from the wing-backs

So often, Frimpong collected the ball down the right and had one-v-one opportunities. He would then often stop the ball and look up before either cutting inside, or even more frustratingly, passing it backwards.

This is something he does far too regularly for me. He’s a much better player than that and he showed it for the opening goal. We need that drive constantly.

The problem is whenever Frimpong does decide to cut inside, he’s just running into trouble. Teams like County flood the central area so that they can snuff out service to Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths.

Frimpong and co celebrate for Celtic vs Ross County (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

The only way to get at these sides is to stretch them and therefore create space for the players in the box. It’s no use cutting inside and trying to fire shots through five or six players.

Diego Laxalt can also be guilty of cutting inside too much. You wonder whether this is some sort of instruction from Neil Lennon. An attempt to try and play the ball into the strikers’ feet.

But it’s time to ditch it if it is. It’s time to tell Frimpong and co that they need to take on their man. We’ll start scoring a lot more goals if we do.

In other news, a Celtic club official has provided a reason for last night’s bizarre kickoff time.