Former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner has questioned the new 3-5-2 system deployed by Celtic in recent matches.

The formation has been consistently demanded by Hoops fans since the start of the season after it shot us to the title between January and March last term.

Since the return from international duty, Lennon has used it in both games against Ross County and St Mirren respectively. Yet whilst it’s brought Celtic a return of seven goals in their last two matches, it’s left plenty of gaps at the back as both of the Hoops’ opponents this week created opportunities.

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St Mirren netted the opener against Celtic last night

St Mirren netted the opener against Celtic last night (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And it appears Bonner isn’t a fan of the system. Speaking to BBC Sportsound after Lennon’s side overcame the Buddies last night, the veteran pundit voiced his concerns.

“I think we know his most favoured formation is playing three at the back. I’m not 100% sure with that formation. I never liked it when I played in it because sometimes defensively your centre-halfs get caught on one side of the pitch.

“Also, from an attacking point of view, you’ve only got one player wide normally, and that at times creates a little bit of a problem for you.


“Sometimes defensively also there’s 2-v-1 situations when the opposition play with a back four. So there are positive points about it but there are plenty of other observations.”


There are pros and cons to every formation – this is Celtic’s best one

You can pick holes in every formation and explain what it does well and where the weaknesses are. Defensive gaps are just unfortunately part of the 3-5-2 system.

Celtic may very well be going with the “if you score one we’ll score two” approach to the campaign ahead, but that’s what supporters demanded. When you have the likes of Odsonne Edouard, Albian Ajeti, Patryk Klimala, and Leigh Griffiths up top, you have that firepower in your arsenal to gun down Scottish Premiership opposition.

It’s not as if we weren’t conceding chances using the 4-2-3-1 system either. Kilmarnock created several openings against us at Rugby Park through Nicke Kabamba’s strength, whilst Dundee United had their moments on the counter at Tannadice.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is going with the 3-5-2

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is going for the 3-5-2 / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We’ve already seen the good and the bad of the 3-5-2 formation this week alone. What we’ve found out is that it’s worth persisting with, especially when you consider the fact that Celtic always play with a holding midfielder regardless.

Bonner makes some good points, but they’re not totally relevant to Celtic’s 3-5-2 style. Much of our reliance going forward comes down the flanks, with the likes of Greg Taylor, James Forrest, and Jeremie Frimpong available to bomb forward when selected.

At the end of the day, the new system has provided us with two comfortable wins so far. It will almost certainly be deployed against Livingston on Saturday.

In other news, one of Celtic’s reported summer targets played 63 minutes for a European superpower last night.

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