Celtic defence deserves plenty of plaudits after turnaround
It’s fair to say that Celtic fans and pundits weren’t exactly impressed with the side’s performance in the 1-0 loss to Rangers in December.
The defence in particular came under fire, with none of the players selected on the day having a good game. The likes of Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic looked uncomfortable under pressure.
Even Craig Gordon, who pulled off plenty of saves, had distribution problems, which created chances for Rangers.
On Twitter, former Hoops striker Chris Sutton declared it Celtic’s ‘worst performance of the season’.
Well done Steven Gerrard and Rangers for the 1st win in 90 minutes v Celtic since 2012 ….the best team won…Celtic worst performance of the season… work to do in January ⚽️
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) December 29, 2018
Since that game though, there has been a move back to basics for the Hoops defence. It has resulted in six clean sheets in a row.
Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers seems to have stopped overthinking his defensive selections.
This has meant playing players in their natural positions. No repeat of the Callum McGregor at left-back against Rangers fiasco.
The decision to replace Craig Gordon with Scott Bain in goals has also helped. The bottom line though, is that the defence are keeping things simple.
When the option is there to kick the ball up the park rather than make an intricate pass, that is what they have been doing. That has helped the likes of Boyata and Jozo Simunovic, they are more comfortable playing that way.
The defensive revival is sure to be tested to the full when the Hoops take on Valencia in the Europa League. But for now, the defence deserves only plaudits for its swift turnaround.