The Celtic selection switch-up that could work against Bodo/Glimt

By Euan Davidson

February 22, 2022

When Celtic came off the park on Sunday, they did so victorious, with a focus on getting some revenge against Bodø/Glimt.

Now, before we get too carried away before discussing how Celtic can line up defensively against Bodo/Glimt, it’s important to remember a couple of factors.

Against Dundee, Celtic conceded twice. Both from set-pieces. On the surface, the idea of transplanting major defensive ideas to a European game when we’ve already got a two-goal deficit might seem farcical. We ended up winning the game, though, and big defensive performances were key in that. Especially late on, when the pressure was at its most intense.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

In the 3-2 win, Ange Postecoglou sent out a very clear message. Josip Juranovic, potentially our most important signing this season, was shuttled to the left. Anthony Ralston came back into the team and had a fine game, winning 11 of his 14 duels [Fotmob], and setting up Giakoumakis for his winner.

Juranovic, meanwhile, was integral to that last goal, winning the ball back in Celtic’s own half and driving forward. He managed to recover the ball repeatedly, without giving away a single foul. He may have been on his less-preferred side, but he was generally very good indeed.

Fine, Celtic did concede. Twice. However, there was still enough to suggest that relying on Juranovic out of position might actually be a good idea against Bodø/Glimt. Especially given the Norwegian side’s ability to cause Celtic problems down Greg Taylor’s side.

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Whatever Celtic boss Ange Postecolgou chooses to do against Bodø/Glimt, there’s risk attached

From both an attacking and defensive perspective, Josip Juranovic at left-back might give Celtic the edge. Statistically speaking, there isn’t a huge amount separating him from Taylor defensively, but there’s surely little argument that Juranovic’s composure and technical ability make him excellent value, wherever he plays.

Ralston’s involvement could be very interesting though. Solid against Dundee, Ralston actually leads Celtic for assists this season, with 7 [WhoScored?]. He’s proven to be good foil for either Liel Abada or Jota, depending on how Ange Postecoglou lines up his front three, while he looks to have regained the solidity in the tackle that was shown earlier this season.

However, you do risk alienating Greg Taylor here. Taylor, mere weeks ago, was imperious against Rangers. His inconsistency remains frustrating, because when he’s on form, he really does contribute a great deal for the Hoops. Ange Postecoglou knows this.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

However, Taylor really was found wanting against Bodø/Glimt last week. He won a single tackle [Fotmob], and was dribbled past with relative ease. The Norwegian Champions exploited Taylor to devastating effect. Would they have the same joy against Juranovic, even out of position?

It’s hard to know, and impossible to say for sure.

However, Ralston’s display against Dundee will have provided food for thought. Ange Postecoglou has choices to make. But on paper at least, Juranovic and Ralston might have the most compelling cases to start together on Thursday night.

Read more: Celtic managerial legend O’Neill points to ‘important’ factor for boss Ange Postecoglou