Kenny Shiels "can't understand" SPFL clubs' approach vs Celtic; enjoys watching Ange's Hoops

By David Walton

January 4, 2022

Northern Ireland women’s manager Kenny Shiels has stated that he “can’t understand” the ultra-negative set-up from opposition clubs against Celtic.

The former Kilmarnock manager has stated that he enjoys watching Ange Postecoglou’s Hoops. The Celtic boss has been impressing supporters with his gung-ho attacking style both domestically and in Europe.

However, the Bhoys have been frustrated on occasion this season when coming up against packed defences. Livingston parked the bus at Celtic Park and escaped with a 0-0 draw. St Mirren did the same when Postecoglou’s side were held in Paisley last month.

Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

And despite the fact teams are having relative success against Celtic when operating so negatively, Shiels has hit out at what’s becoming a more popular approach.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Shiels said: “Teams like Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk would finish in the top half of the Scottish Premiership. I have no doubt about that whatsoever. Their methodology about the game is probably more advanced than most, if you take the Old Firm out of it.

“I watch the Old Firm on TV most weeks and I like watching Celtic. I like the way they try to break teams down and they have to do that in every game they play. The opposition is camped in and it is taking away from the entertainment value, which is zero.

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“Ange Postecoglou looks to have a good way of playing but everybody else is just trying to stop them from playing rather than trying to impose their own style on Celtic. They look for a counter-attack and a narrow defeat will make them feel good, which I can’t understand.”

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It’s disappointing that some clubs resort to it. The likes of Livingston, for example, are a nightmare when it comes to attractive football. Or at least against Celtic they are.

However, we can argue the morals of it all we want. We can complain that it takes away from the entertainment factor and goes against what football is all about. But there’s no set rule against it. You can’t police or demand teams play a certain way or formation against you.

We’re still 6 points behind in the Premiership because we simply haven’t had the answers to those challenges. Like it or not, Rangers have to break down the opposition to a greater extent than we have. That’s why they’re still ahead.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

If we want to be the champions, we can’t be going about complaining about teams that want to set up negatively. We should still be able to call it out whilst actually winning the game. After all, if it shows up our faults and gets results for the opposition, they’re not going to change their approach.

Is it great for Scottish football? No. Is it the best advert for our nation’s game? Definitely not. Will it change anytime soon? There’s no reason for that. Not unless we start finding the answers.

So fingers crossed we can be more ruthless against this type of approach in 2022. We’ll certainly face plenty of it. The St Mirren and Livingston results can’t be replicated in the first half of the year if we want to be taking our title back come May.

In other news, Pat Bonner believes Celtic missed golden chance to give youngster his opportunity