The early signs that suggest Cameron Carter-Vickers can be a difference-maker for Celtic

By Euan Davidson

September 25, 2021

Celtic were dying for another centre-back when Cameron Carter-Vickers arrived at the club.

There was all the initial intrigue; his USA caps, his history playing in the Green and White Hoops of Catholic United, and time spent working with managers like José Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino.

For years, certainly in English circles, he seemed like a talent that was ready to blossom. It just never quite worked for him at Tottenham Hotspur, though. And for sure, Celtic are taking advantage.

Since his arrival, Carter-Vickers has taken a little time to adjust to the expectations of manager Ange Postecoglou. But from a small sample of games, we’re seeing qualities from CCV that really were needed in Celtic’s defence.

Take his first game against Ross County, for example. A man of the match performance, Carter-Vickers outperformed his xG of 0.02 with a bizarre, deflected finish that put the Bhoys ahead. In that game, he won 7 duels, won 3 aerial battles and passed the ball well, including 9 accurate long deliveries [FotMob].

Even in a loss to Livingston, Carter-Vickers didn’t get much wrong. His passing was a little more wayward, but he was moving the ball positively, and showed confidence with 122 touches. More importantly, perhaps, he won a colossal 11 duels, won the ball 10 times in the air, and made 6 recoveries [FotMob].

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Given how suspect Celtic looked defending long balls, and the set-piece problems we were having, Carter-Vickers is well placed to get even better. He might end up making a real difference for the Bhoys this season.

Cameron Carter-Vickers can blossom at Celtic after frustrating few years

Having been loaned out various times from Spurs, Carter-Vickers has struggled to find a home. At Celtic, he looks far more comfortable. With the backing of supporters and a manager who will encourage him to play with more freedom, no less.

But most crucially, Carter-Vickers is ticking every box we needed from a centre-back.

We needed an imposing physical presence, he is that. He’s decent on the ball, and can competently move it forward. Best of all, he’s imperious aerially, and that’s something Celtic just haven’t had.

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Starfelt can still improve, as can the promising Stephen Welsh. Christopher Jullien coming back will be a boost.

But at the moment, it feels to me that it’ll be a case of who plays next to Cameron Carter-Vickers, when Celtic have a full compliment of defenders.

He’s endured a couple of tough games, yes. Real Betis was a learning curve for everyone. At 23, though, Celtic have got a potential mainstay if they snap up Carter-Vickers permanently.

Read more: The underrated success of Celtic signing policy