Starfelt has to make himself undroppable with next few Celtic displays

By Euan Davidson

October 13, 2021

Carl Starfelt arrived at Celtic with much fanfare. The big Swede, something of an iron man for Rubin Kazan, looked like the kind of physical, ball-playing centre-half the Bhoys needed.

Frankly, at the time he signed, anyone would’ve done. A scarecrow in the number 5 jersey, anything. Still, Starfelt has gone from much-heralded arrival to figure of fun amongst opposition supporters.

And, barring a couple of mistakes, it’s not actually based on a great deal. Starfelt has helped Celtic achieve 6 clean sheets thus far [Transfermarkt]. Statistically, he’s not been too bad at all, managing 3.6 clearances per 90 in the Premiership, and 2 interceptions in each of his Europa League outings [WhoScored?].

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Granted, the Celtic defence in Europe has hardly been anything to shout about. But Starfelt is going to have to really ramp up his efforts further to keep his place.

Christopher Jullien is projected to come back before too long. Absolutely, we can’t rush the Frenchman, who’ll be returning after a horrible knee injury, sustained not long after returning from another long absence.

The clamour, though, will be for Jullien to be in the first team, and quite rightly. With Cameron Carter-Vickers providing a more sturdy presence at the back, it’s a case of who partners the USA international.

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Starfelt has to ramp up his Celtic displays to avoid the bench

For what it’s worth, I still think there’s too much rush to judge players. People wrote off Starfelt after our first league game. Far better centre-backs would’ve struggled in the defence Celtic had to start the season.

Stephen Welsh and Liam Scales are both decent options, but Scales is probably better on the left. Welsh has the raw materials, but he’s not international level. Starfelt is, speaking objectively.

For once, when Postecoglou has Jullien at his disposal, there’ll likely be an actual wish to jig the defence around.

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

The Celtic manager hasn’t been able to line up a consistent back four, and basic mistakes have shown how difficult it’s been. Starfelt, unfortunately, seems to be the scapegoat for much of it.

So, against Motherwell, Ferencvaros, St Johnstone and more, Starfelt needs to be 100% on it. He’s got to make a case for staying in that Celtic defence, and it’s a defence that needs cohesion and immediate improvement.

He’s no rookie. The Sweden international understands the challenge ahead of him.

Is he up to it?

Read more: Report: Former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers now worth almost double the £9m he left for