Pat Bonner noticed something interestingly different from Celtic boss on Sunday

By David Walton

December 30, 2021

Pat Bonner believes he finally spotted Ange Postecoglou changing up his Celtic system in Sunday’s 3-1 win at St Johnstone.

The Hoops struggled but battled through the month of December despite a host of injury concerns. The only points dropped came in a dour 0-0 draw at St Mirren, with Celtic bouncing right back at McDiarmid Park 4 days later.

It was notable that Postecoglou switched things up and played both Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada through the middle. Joey Dawson would later partner Abada after Kyogo’s injury, with Liel netting a brace. It comes after Ange has stuck rigidly to a one-striker system and often gone with a flat back four.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

However, Bonner has identified the change and believes it’s a sign the Celtic manager is looking to adapt. As quoted by the Daily Record, Bonner said: “He seems to be something of a father figure. He was talking about the young lad Joey Dawson after the game at St Johnstone and how the B team plays in the same way. So that means he has a big influence throughout the club, which is a big thing to do when you consider where he’s come from and so on.

“Even on Boxing Day they changed the system. He went with a three at the back with Liam Scales playing higher up the park and Josip Juranovic on the other side. He then played the two up front.

“That was a wee tweak that we hadn’t seen before. Now he’s maybe thinking, ‘what else do I have to do to change it around?’. So far, he’s been saying, ‘this is the way I play and I’m not going to change it’. Sunday was the day he changed it.”

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Ange Postecoglou’s philosophy doesn’t change, but formations have to

Managers all have their preferred formations. Whether it be a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, we see it all the time in football. There’s a preferred set-up. But it’s a reason that it’s given that label – the “preferred” tag.

That’s because it’s not always feasible to play your first-choice formation and get the result. Take Sunday for example. Ange had just watched Celtic struggle to break St Mirren down with 1 up top. Not enough damage was done centrally, and there was an over-reliance on the full-backs to get deliveries into the box that weren’t met in the middle.

So it’s promising from a Celtic fan’s perspective that Ange was wise enough to mix things up. Even with Kyogo available, he still decided to go with 2 up top to give St Johnstone more to think about. And we saw how often that worked given the plethora of chances created during the game.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Postecoglou’s commitment to fast, attacking football doesn’t change. His philosophy of always going for the full 90 minutes remains the same. Those are the non-negotiables. But it doesn’t go well for a manager if he only sticks to one formation and believes it will get him out of every sticky situation.

Thankfully, we have a boss who appears happy to mix things up should the situation demand it. We saw that against St Johnstone and it’s a trend that will have to continue if we’re to win the title this season.

He hasn’t had to change it that often if at all this term, but on Sunday he provided the freshness we needed to grab another vital 3 points.

In other news, Roberto Martinez tips ex-Celtic man to bring a “different approach” to Scottish football