The ridiculously over-criticised Celtic duo that made bossing rivals look easy

By David Walton

April 3, 2022

When Ange Postecoglou announced his Celtic team for Ibrox this afternoon, 2 stood out as players who have taken too much criticism to date.

Carl Starfelt and Greg Taylor. Both have been absolutely starring for Celtic in 2022, yet both have had plenty of criticism levelled at them in the past.

Starfelt’s criticism has been more pundit-based. There have been a host of Scottish football pundits who have sadly had it in for him since his arrival. Pundits who made an initial verdict on him and have refused to allow his improvement to change it.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Davie Provan, for example, laughably tried to claim recently that Celtic had the best defence in Scotland in spite of Starfelt, not because of him. He’s had it in for the big Swede ever since he signed and had a ropey start.

Meanwhile, Taylor has had a hugely rough time from elements of the support that just haven’t taken to him. Despite him putting in a string of consistent performances this season, he still gets unfairly picked out when results don’t go our way or if our performance levels dip. Chris Sutton, for example, called him out after our loss to Bodo/Glimt despite nobody performing against the Norwegians [Daily Record].

Taylor has earned a lot more respect from the Celtic support since snuffing out Amad Diallo back in February. Today, he was up against Joe Aribo and James Tavernier, and once again our rivals got no joy down that right flank.

Rangers 1-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction

Rangers 1-2 Celtic | LIVE Reaction
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Greg Taylor and Carl Starfelt have been making their mark at Celtic all season

Aribo for the umpteenth time failed to provide any genuine threat against Taylor. That’s not to say Greg won every single duel he had. There was the odd time he was caught out of position after being up the park helping Daizen Maeda. But the truth is for the 70 minutes he was on the park he was tidy, composed, and was a key reason as to why Rangers got minimal joy down the flanks.

Had Taylor, for example, made the error Josip Juranovic had for the opener, he likely would’ve been called out. That’s not to say Josip deserves any stick given he grew into the game. But it’s just an example of how easy a target Taylor is at times. He actually made a stunning last-ditch block not long after our equaliser to halt Aribo from running in on goal.

Then you have Starfelt up against Roofe. Granted, the 4 fouls he committed were largely clumsy. But whenever the ball came into the Celtic penalty area, he was often the first to meet it. Stat-trackers Fotmob state Starfelt made as many as 12 clearances throughout the afternoon. Not to mention 3 interceptions and 9 recoveries.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Starfelt’s contributions often go unnoticed. Not many realise it’s he who makes the last-ditch clearance. That it’s he who manages to just get a touch on to dangerous cross-balls. He does the work that people just don’t want to take much notice of.

That’s why he regularly gets picked out for the most ridiculous of reasons. It’s funny that Starfelt often gets called out for mistakes with the ball at his feet. There’s a reason for that – you can’t have a pop at his overall defending.

Both he and Taylor have had to constantly deal with being picked out for unfair praise in the past. But there’s no getting way from their individual contributions this afternoon. They went to Ibrox and stamped their authority on the occasion. Hopefully, it ends any debate over whether these players have the quality to play for the Hoops.

In other news, Karamoko Dembele, Joe Hart, and Celtic players flock to CCV’s Instagram after derby win