St Mirren boss wants his players to carry out an extremely risky instruction at Celtic Park

By David Walton

March 1, 2022

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson has admitted that he wants his players to try and pass the ball around Celtic when they’re under pressure tomorrow night.

The dangerous move, which is seldom seen by opposition sides at Parkhead, is to be used in a bid to increase the Buddies’ confidence when on the ball.

In Celtic’s 0-0 draw against Hibernian at Easter Road on Sunday, Shaun Maloney’s men often went long when the Hoops tried to put them under a high press. It’s the basic instinct when domestic teams come to Parkhead too given it’s the easiest way to get out of immediate danger.

Photo by Andrew Vaughan – CameraSport via Getty Images

However, Robinson wants his side to be “brave” tomorrow night in what could be a seriously risky move. As quoted by the Daily Record, the new boss of the Paisley side said: “It’s always a tough game when you go to Celtic Park. When they click they’re a terrific side and it’s a real challenge. But we go there with a game plan and we’ve got boys that can win matches for us.

“We need to be brave. Every time you go Ibrox and Celtic Park you need to be brave on the ball. Everyone thinks you have to defend, and you do there’s no doubt about it. But you have to pass the ball. We didn’t pass the ball enough on Saturday against Hearts even close to the way I want us to play. So we have to be brave and make brave decisions under pressure to relieve the pressure on us, because Celtic will dominate the ball if we’re not brave on it.

“Nothing is impossible. Hibs proved that on Sunday and they matched them for large periods of the game and were brave on the ball. I still need to implement my style of play on the squad and we’re drip-feeding that in. Hopefully we can implement that on one of the hardest stages in the world.”

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Will St Mirren be bold enough to back their manager’s words at Celtic Park?

So the idea is pretty straightforward in theory. The Buddies will look to pass the ball around Celtic’s press and relieve the pressure on themselves by making brave decisions with the ball on the deck.

The same then applies to when they get the ball down in midfield. It isn’t to be long balls over the top. It’s to be composed passing to try and keep the pressure down on their goal. Sure, we’ll see if that comes to fruition.

We’ve heard this kind of thing before regularly in the past. Managers who talk about getting at us and instead end up choking under the pressure and instead look to put 10 men behind the ball.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Interesting though that Robinson states that’s not what he wants from his group. You have to wonder then what his game-plan will be. After all, keeping the back door closed with 2 banks of 5 helped St Mirren gain a point against us back in December in Paisley.

Celtic Park is a different kettle of fish altogether. The Buddies will need to be a lot more careful when their usage of the ball. If they’re going to be passing it around from back to front, all it will take is one swift interception and Celtic could be in.

All credit to Robinson if this the approach he does indeed go with when under pressure. But the truth is, we’ll believe it when we see it.

In other news, Ange Postecoglou explains when he’ll make a final decision on Celtic star Giorgos Giakoumakis