The summer is now looming to be very important indeed. After every European defeat this season Brendan has blamed the defence. After our three domestic defeats he blamed bad defending. He was right in every case. People who say he’s done nothing about it are wrong, of course; Marvin Compper and Jack Hendry have been signed.
People who say he’s not done enough about it are 100% correct.
The backline needs something substantial. Most of us know, and accept, that certain players are not good enough; Simunovic and Lustig have gone backwards. Boyata has improved slightly but not enough. None of the three should be relied on next season when the going gets tough. All must find their way out of Celtic Park. All must be replaced.
On top of that, if we don’t sign a goalkeeper, a first choice, we’re asking for trouble of the worst kind. A guy who can command his penalty box and organise the players in front of him would have done more last night to keep us in Europe than any £20 million striker.
The money is there. If you’re not spending it you’re hoarding it. If you’re hoarding it, what are you hoarding it for? A rainy day? Look out the window … it’s raining. (Not really, I don’t want messages telling me the sun is shining where you are!) If this team isn’t substantially improved we’re taking a chance of losing out on next season’s Champions League cash.
Celtic has forever done this. Celtic has forever failed to build from a position of strength. If Brendan is going to take us forward that has to start from the back. Some say it’s forever the issue with him; he’s rather go for the sexy signings than bring in what’s functional. I think they are wrong, but summertime will be the test of him.
Mikael Lustig has served our club magnificently, and if Brendan believes he’s some kind of influence in the dressing room then by all means ship out Gamboa and leave Lustig in place as a backup to central defence and to young Ralston. But someone has to be signed, someone on that flank who can actually defend and who’s positional sense isn’t shot.
Neither Boyata nor Simunovic is a commanding centre half. It’s all well and good saying Compper might be – we have no idea – but play him beside one of those and what do you get? A guy who spends most of his game cleaning up after other people’s mistakes. We’ll never see the best of him that way. He needs to be paired with someone better.
All of this is to say nothing for the other glaring problem; Kieran Tierney. He is far and away the best footballer at the club right now. Even last night he rose above his peers, but Kieran is one player and we can’t allow this kid to keep running himself into the ground. Calvin Miller may well blossom into the complete player, but right now he’s our only backup to the best we’ve got and that’s an enormous burden to put on the shoulders of a kid who wasn’t even a defender.
Brendan has a lot of work to do here … and he should be doing it already.
We need to clear out the ranks of the defence and effectively start again.
He inherited these guys, he owes them no loyalty.
Only when he has his own people in place, people he trusts, will we be able to properly judge his vision.