Steven Pressley says Celtic back three could wreck Gerrard's derby gameplan

By John McGinley

March 11, 2020

Former Celtic defender Steven Pressley thinks Neil Lennon will deploy a back three formation at Ibrox this Sunday, The Daily Record report.

Lennon’s Bhoys are currently preparing for a massive fixture away to Rangers in the Scottish Premiership.

Although the title race doesn’t particularly feel like a race anymore, a positive result at the weekend effectively kills off any hope that Steven Gerrard and his squad have of getting back into contention.

With Celtic not playing at their best in the last two derby matches, Lennon needs to find a different way forward in the derby match up and Pressley reckons he’ll opt to field a back three.

It’s something the manager has used to great effect in other matches so far in 2020 but has yet to be tested at Ibrox.

The Gordon Strachan signing has been talking up about what it could mean for Celtic’s performance though, feeling it could scupper the Gerrard gameplan utilised in this fixture, to our advantage.

As quoted by The Daily Record, Pressley said: “Rangers have been really aggressive with their press in the last couple of Old Firms. A back three asks a different question of that press. Your job slightly changes in that in the front three the responsibility of the striker is to get down aggressively against their wide centre backs.

“This then asks your full-back to come really detached from your back four because he has to go against the opposing wing back. That means the areas that Celtic could exploit are down the sides of the Rangers centre backs and that suits them because they have good mobility in Griffiths and Edouard.

“That gives Rangers a different problem than the one they faced in last Old Firm.”

Celtic defenders Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer / (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Pressley is right to point out that it was Rangers’ pressing that caused us so many problems in the last match at Celtic Park.

Our defence and midfield never really gelled in the 90 minutes, leaving our attackers subsequently isolated too.

Rangers won the ball back far too easily and regularly, leading to situations where they outmatched us with the number of personnel in our own half.

Anything that combats that this weekend is welcome and Pressley seems to think it involves playing a three-man defensive line.

That would likely result in opting to go with Edouard and Griffiths too, which would be an exciting attacking combination to see in Govan.

All eyes will be on Lennon’s teamsheet come the weekend.