Aberdeen having a glaring weakness; Celtic have to punish it tomorrow

By Euan Davidson

November 27, 2021

Celtic face Aberdeen tomorrow; and every game right now is a huge one.

If the Bhoys have title ambitions, picking up points against out-of-odds Aberdeen and gaining traction on league leaders Rangers is vital. With all of the emotion going into the game tomorrow, it’s going to be an intense afternoon at Celtic Park.

Admittedly, Aberdeen aren’t exactly in scintillating form. They’ve been struggling in recent games, sitting in the bottom six of the league table [BBC]. Boss Stephen Glass is under pressure, and there’s no two ways about it.

Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

One of their main problems is something Glass addressed in the build-up to the game. The Dons manager said [AFC]:

‘We didn’t do enough to win the game [against Dundee United] and I don’t think United did enough to lose it. I think we did enough to lose it on a set piece. And it cost us ultimately. That’s the sort of thing that has to stop.”

Glass may have got a few things wrong as Dons boss, but he’s right here. Thus far, a quarter of all of their league goals conceded have come via set pieces [WhoScored?]. They’ve also let in 3 penalties, which shows a defence that’s unsettled and cumbersome.

For Celtic, the job against Aberdeen is obvious.

A new dawn beckons for Celtic in Europe, as Joe Hart shows his class once again

A new dawn beckons for Celtic in Europe, as Joe Hart shows his class once again
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Celtic know exactly what they need to do against Aberdeen tomorrow

At the time of writing, Aberdeen’s ability to win aerial duels is… less than good. They’re winning on average 18.8 per 90 [WhoScored?]. That’s pretty dire, given they contest 37.7.

Celtic, admittedly, only win 16.8 a game. However, that’s due in large part to a less vertical game. 16.8 out of 28 a game isn’t too bad. The majority of times we challenge in the air, we win it.

That’s a glaring problem for the Dons. Under McInnes, they were a far more dogged outfit, who were difficult to beat aerially. That’s no longer the case.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

This is where players like Cameron Carter-Vickers come in handy. He ranks amongst the best in the league for winning the ball in the air. If Celtic can harass Aberdeen into conceding corners and free kicks, then big CCV can make a real impression with his aerial prowess.

This shouldn’t be one of those games, like against Livingston, where chucking it into the box repeatedly should be the primary tactic. That said, Kyogo did get his goal against Aberdeen from a cross. He’s not exactly a tall lad.

Yes, there’s an irony here. This has been Celtic’s achilles heel for years. What we might end up seeing is two teams desperate to win corners; although Aberdeen don’t have guys like Robert Andrich to cause issues.

A lot will depend on our centre-backs, though. If they’re able to challenge any Dons crosses, and get on the end of their teammates’ deliveries, they hold one of the keys for beating Aberdeen tomorrow.

Read more: The great way Ange Postecoglou wants to pay tribute to Celtic icon Bertie Auld