The problem area in Celtic squad that needs addressed in January

By Euan Davidson

November 27, 2021

We’ve seen some interesting things happen with this Celtic squad in recent weeks, leading up to the January window.

Primarily, Josip Juranovic, a Croatian international right-back, playing on the left. It started in a debut against Rangers, and has been a consistent theme in recent weeks.

Postecoglou settled on a very efficient back four, before injuries piled up. Juranovic, in for Taylor, with Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt and Anthony Ralston alongside him.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It’s a defence that, for the most part, has been successful. Inevitably, Greg Taylor will return though. While that’ll be good for strength on the right, with Ralston and Juranovic battling, it’s a problem Ange Postecoglou needs to address.

He’s going to have to be ruthless, because beyond Taylor, there’s Adam Montgomery, Boli Bolingoli and Liam Scales to choose from. If Juranovic stays at left-back, there’s four options in a specific position. Four into one doesn’t go.

Taylor, derided in some quarters, was adapting well to life under Ange Postecoglou before his shoulder injury. Juranovic, though, is hardly someone you’d want to drop. That’s a dilemma in itself, but the problem is deeper.

Postecoglou needs to figure out what he’s going to do with Boli Bolingoli. He’s featured to decent effect in a couple of games, before disappearing from the match-day squad. Liam Scales is a perennial bench-warmer, while Adam Montgomery’s early promise was suspended by Juranovic’s ability to play left-back.

It’s all very well saying Postecoglou needs squad depth. He does. But not that much, in one position.

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Ange Postecoglou needs to be ruthless with his Celtic left-backs – and squad in general – come January

It’s clear by now that there’s no future for Bolingoli at Celtic, barring some kind of miracle turnaround. Hey – we’ve seen it happen with Anthony Ralston.

But even if he does go, it’s hard to see Liam Scales getting the first-team football he needs. Let alone Adam Montgomery, who won’t be allowed to play B Team football. By now, he’s made too many appearances for the first-team.

It’s a headache Ange Postecoglou can ill-afford to spend too much time on. There’s talk of Reo Hatate joining [Scottish Daily Mail, print edition]. Whether that’s at left-back, as is rumoured, or in the midfield is impossible to say until something actually happens there.

Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Part of the success of the January window will be addition by subtraction. That sounds strange to say, but there are players that need moved on in the New Year. Part of the success of any window is getting good value for players who are surplus to requirements. Yes, that means Albian Ajeti.

But the left-back issue really needs solved. The wealth in the squad isn’t distributed evenly, and it makes little sense to have 2, or even 3 left-backs on the bench for any given match.

Ange has his itinerary full at the best of times at Celtic. But this is another problem for the manager to solve – and soon.

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