Brendan Rodgers’ weird experiments during match-days need to stop ahead of a crucial second-half of the season.
The Celtic manager selected a strong starting XI to help sweep aside Airdrie last night. It was a convincing 3-0 win with the Hoops never really needing to get out of second gear.
Yet there was one weird noticeable factor in the team. It’s also been discussed at length since the game ended – Oliver Burke up top.
This is a position pretty uncommon to Burke. His main position is down the right, but in the past, he’s also featured as a left-winger and at times as a number 10. A striker, however? Barely if at all.
Later on in the match, Timothy Weah came on for Scott Sinclair and played as a left-winger. Mikey Johnston replaced James Forrest down the right, with Burke staying up top.
It’s difficult to argue with. After all, Weah did score, but it was from a striker’s position in which he did. Weah constantly roamed in from the left to try and make things happen, and provided a spark to Parkhead. But surely the logical option would’ve been to put Burke in a more familiar left-wing position and play Weah up top?
It didn’t matter against Airdrie, but it’s the kind of decision that will against Rangers or Hearts away.
There’s been a few head-scratchers recently
This follows on from a couple more odd positional selections from Rodgers recently.
Against Rangers at Ibrox, Johnston played up front just because he bagged a brace against Dundee at Parkhead. It was still an odd position to him, and he wasn’t at all used to it yet. Odsonne Edouard was on the bench, but only came on for the final 20 minutes.
In the same match, Callum McGregor featured at left-back despite being so much more influential in the middle. That was despite the fact Emilio Izaguirre was available to feature.
Jonny Hayes has also consistently featured down the right in the past, despite being extremely one-sided and left-footed.
Celtic now have the depth to be playing their best players in their usual positions. Doing anything else can lead to some dreadful results such as what happened at Ibrox. But mainly, the team looks extremely disjointed when Rodgers plays players out of their best positions.
Hopefully we’ve seen the last of it. The Hoops have some real quality, and don’t need to be experimenting at such a key stage of a delicate campaign.