Steven Pressley predicts Celtic to play two up top vs Rangers
Celtic title-winner Steven Pressley has stated his belief that Neil Lennon will go with an exciting two up top on Sunday.
The Hoops head to Ibrox this weekend with the Celtic manager looking for a formula that will get us back to dominating this fixture once more. Celtic have won two of the three derby games this season, but in the two most recent ones we were dominated for much of the match.
Thankfully, in recent weeks the manager has come up with a different system that’s gotten the best out of both Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths up top. It’s the club’s most dangerous weapon at the moment, and looks like the ideal duo to shoot Rangers down with.
And speaking in the Daily Record, Pressley believes Lennon will stand by the form of both forwards and let them loose at Ibrox.
“Up front Neil will stick with Griffiths and Edouard. Sometimes as a manager you can look too much at the tactics and forget about the form of the player. But there are times you just have to look at your players and see that, for Neil, Griffiths is brimming with confidence and Edouard’s game is at an unbelievable level.
“You can look at the opposition and think ‘well there’s a weakness and we can exploit that there’ but sometimes you just have to think these two players are absolutely at the top of their game at the moment and must play.
“The only thing that might be in Neil’s mind is that if he plays Ntcham he then plays a connecting player like a Ryan Christie off Edouard but I don’t think so because Edouard has great connection anyway and together with Griffiths its a great combination.”
Any other system opens Lennon up to criticism
If Lennon didn’t go with two strikers up top on Sunday, it would be the first thing that he’s beaten over the head with should we lose.
One of the main problems for Celtic was getting the ball to stick up top in the previous derby. Outside of his deflected goal, Edouard could barely get into the game. With Griffiths up top, that shouldn’t be the case, and we should expect to carry much more of a threat going forward.
There are concerns over how much space a 3-5-2 would leave Rangers to strike on the counter. Particularly considering their main threat comes from the wide areas.
However, this is why we have energetic wing-backs in place. James Forrest and Greg Taylor will consistently be forced to track back and do a strong defensive shift. A back three can very quickly turn into a back five if the wing-backs keep sensible about when to go forward.
But the fact is that the one-striker system just hasn’t worked in the last two games. We need more, and having a midfield three of Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, and Olivier Ntcham behind Griffiths and Edouard is an exciting thought.
There arguments that a 4-4-2 would give us the best at both ends of the pitch. However, against Rangers, we should really be looking to flood the engine room.
Of course where Neil may disagree with Pressley is this idea of not playing a number 10. Should Ntcham miss out, Tom Rogic or Ryan Christie will surely come into the mix. If everyone is fit, it really is anyone’s guess.