Some folk seem to be worried about our weekend. Others, like Keith Jackson, are reading into it what they want to, with one eye ever fixed on pleasing Ibrox. I have no such concerns, and I think that the Record trying to poke holes in Celtic’s system is nothing new and nothing to be worried about. They did it last season. It didn’t save their club.
We’ve heard all this before.
This was a defence bedding in a left back, without a first choice centre back and missing both of our right backs. It was a defence where the big lad Urhoghide is playing alongside footballers he has barely met … and it was a performance where one of the goals was the result of a dreadful mix-up between Hart and Jullien.
Did the defence look rusty? Yeah, against a team that his six pre-season matches under their belt already. Honestly, I am not in the least bit worried by it.
A lot of the concern seems focussed on the Champions League; I’ll get to that in an article later, but as far as I’m concerned worrying about how we might fare in that tournament is like worrying if the sun was going to rise. We’re certain to get at least two massive clubs, so a little realism is definitely in order before the draw is even made.
All of this is the same talk we got all last season, about how we looked shaky at the back. Odd, then, that we had the best defensive record in Scotland. Odd, then, that our defenders were amongst the best performing footballers in the country.
The manager is not unaware that there is work to be done in this area.
He wants a defensive midfield player to close the gap between the central area and the backline. He probably does have another central defender in mind; but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Urhoghide performed well in Belgium. We know Welsh is a decent centre back who is a little short of games. Jullien has something to offer, if he’s willing to stay at Parkhead.
We can’t just add bodies for the sake of it; the thing with our left back, and you presume with our coming defensive midfield player, is that we’re not just filling the squad with warm bodies, as they do across the street. We want genuine quality who are at least as good as the guys we have at the club right now. That costs money, and that takes time.
We have the money. We also, by virtue of our not having qualifiers to play, have the time.
It’s obvious from the higher quality of teams we’re playing in pre-season this year that the manager wants us tested, and in a battle, all the better to see where he needs to tweak things. But he won’t panic over one match against a side way ahead of us in fitness, with key people missing, and so neither should we.
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