The tough call Ange Postecoglou needs to make for immediate Celtic results

By Euan Davidson

October 13, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has had some extremely mixed results as Celtic boss so far, it’d be fair to surmise.

Home thrashings against St Mirren, Dundee and Ross County gave supporters a platform for real belief. Then, losses to Rangers and Livingston in particular, as well as thrashings in Europe, dampened the enthusiasm somewhat.

For a new manager, with a huge turnover of players, that’s somewhat to be expected. However, there’s a key problem on the pitch that Postecoglou could fix to make his life easier.

He has to drop one of Tom Rogic or David Turnbull.

Against Aberdeen, we saw Postecoglou mix it up a bit [Transfermarkt]. The trio of Bitton, McGregor and Turnbull were functional, if not exceptional. Makes sense; Bitton will have been comparably rusty, while McGregor was barely back from inury.

However, going forward, it’s a system that has potential for a lot of games. Having a holding midfielder isn’t antithetical to an attacking approach. Look at Scott Brown in previous campaigns, for a very obvious example.

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Because what became clear is that the Rogic-Turnbull partnership didn’t work. Two talented players no doubt, but it created a too-many-cooks scenario in a congested midfield. When you have two number 10s looking for the same spaces, who don’t offer much defensively? It’s rarely a winning formula.

Ange Postecoglou needs to be brave as Celtic boss; the feeling is he will be

It’s doubtful that Ange Postecoglou is the kind of manager to show undue loyalty to players. He’s shown ruthlessness in the past, and will surely do so again.

However, he might find it hard to drop either of Rogic or Turnbull. Rogic is an Australia international, and a usefully ally to the manager. Turnbull is last season’s Player of the Year. It’s a very strange situation to be in, really.

But the fact is, together? Neither have particularly blossomed this season. That’s strange to say about players who have scored goals from midfield, and on occasion, performed well.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But for a more cohesive blend, and to avoid being so easily picked apart in counter attacks, we need to pair Callum McGregor with someone in central midfield, and have a holding midfielder. Hopefully, James McCarthy can be that man, but the signs so far aren’t entirely convincing.

It yielded a result against Aberdeen, and it’s a system that’s worked fantastically before now. The Celtic captain needs the freedom to roam, and not be bogged down by defensive responsibilities. Next to him, one number 10 will do.

Call it armchair management if you will, but the evidence is there. We need to see more of Postecoglou’s ruthlessness for the betterment of results.

Read more: Celtic youngster Rocco Vata lauded by Irish media after U17 displays