Celtic’s 2-0 win over Hearts on Wednesday night was the team’s ninth league victory in the row. That is a superb achievement, and the team deserves credit for their relentlessness and will to win.
However, there is an area of the team which should be single out for respect, and perhaps given more attention. That is the defensive record of the Hoops over those nine games.
Defence have bounced back from poor performance
In the nine in a row run, Celtic have conceded only two goals. That is an incredible statistic, which deserves to be highly praised. What is notable is how the defence have bounced back after a poor performance before the winning run started.
The last time Celtic dropped points in the league was in the 2-0 loss to Livingston in October. None of Celtic’s defence had a good game that day. Centre-backs Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien both struggled.
Duo learned lessons from defeat
However, the players must have learned their lessons from that defeat. Since then, Celtic have been solid in defence. Fraser Forster has been getting plenty of plaudits this season and rightfully so. However, Ajer and Jullien, who only came together as a partnership in August, have been excellent together.
When Celtic are in league action, they will usually dominate most of every game. That is why the defence has to be prepared, and not caught cold on any attacks by the opposition. To be fair to Ajer and Jullien, that is what they have done.
It sometimes takes time for a defensive unit to knit together, but that has not been the case with Celtic. You would think that the back four had been playing together for years, and not for months.
Should Celtic go on to make it nine league titles in a row, then the impact that the defence has had on the team should not be underestimated. It has played a key role in Celtic’s recent run of form, and should be given plenty of respect.