Leaving Carter Vickers Out Last Night Was Smart. It’s Time Celtic Rested The Captain A While.

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Last night, Brendan Rodgers made the brave – some might say risky – decision to leave Cameron Carter Vickers not just out of the starting eleven for Celtic but out of the squad entirely.

He said after the game that it had been a planned absence because of the number of games the big man has played since he came back from his lengthy injury.

We should all applaud that decision and the rationale behind it. You only have to look at the number of players we currently have out with long-term injuries to see the good sense in it.

We haven’t rushed the big man back and we’re not going to push him too hard. I hope we take the same approach with Hatate and with Abada as well.

We are fortunate, of course, to have plenty of centre backs at the club, although you saw that there was a little miscommunication for the goal with Phillips straying too far outside the box, which pulled the whole defensive shape awry.

Still, these things develop as players stay together in the side … the only issue, of course, is that Scales has become essential and Carter Vickers is the best defender at the club. So we might not see the Phillips-Scales partnership much, although it has potential.

Hell, there are potential partnerships all over this side which might never get a chance to fully blossom. That’s not a criticism; it’s actually a compliment. At lesser clubs all these guys would be starting every week and we’d see more of them as a result.

One thing about last night; the decision to rest Carter Vickers, excellent as it was, raises a familiar question; when do we rest the captain?

No player is in greater need of it, and there’s another reason that hangs over us too and we shouldn’t ignore it; in fact, it should haunt us because of how serious it is. What happens if Callum McGregor gets injured?

Who exactly are we trusting with that position when the whole team is built around the job he does in the unsexy engine room of the side?

We saw Matt O’Riley play there last season for a short spell, and he did okay but to move him from where he is right now definitely weakens two areas of the team and not just one … this is something we must think about.

There are only a couple of players in the squad who can reliably play in that position and only one of them – Iwata – who the manager seems inclined to give games to. That’s understandable.

But isn’t it time that he got some more games in that role?

Callum works harder than any other player in this squad. His position means that he doesn’t stop moving all night long, and his being ever present really does risk burning this lad out. He is clearly fit, almost supernaturally so even accounting for the rigours of the modern game, but slowly but surely even the toughest rock erodes and so will he.

It just makes good sense to rest this boy a while and let him get some downtime. We will draw the benefits from it in more ways than one.

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  • John L says:

    Watching Dundee last night, we could change the starting 11 , they were woeful. You have came up with a valid point and although there is a risk attached to it, we should be able to cope with the squad we have, I was glad Turnbull got a goal but he still strikes me as a luxury man, I truly wanted him in the team long term but there’s something missing. VAR was not kind to us last night, Kyogo booked and denied a penalty mmm!. I didn’t share your view about St Mirran though , they’ve bottled it, 451 followed by 433 when we scored. Where would we be without options lol

  • Johnno says:

    You are kidding James, about Phillips?
    Very disappointed with himself last night and would question why Rodgers even considers him as our 3rd choice CB currently?
    Seems more like Rodgers is currently being a bit petty with trying to make a point of wanting and using experience over giving the younger player the opportunity lately, and was nearly a very costly mistake taken last night?
    Could iwata play the calmac role, or even Paulo?
    Sure they could imo.
    Could calmac be pushed more forward into the turnbull role and have a bigger impact throughout a game?
    Again course he could, with the option of giving him a rest every now and again?
    Actually getting a bit concerned about Rodgers potentially running key players into the ground of late, due to his lack of trust in giving the younger players the opportunity.
    Those games like last night against the opposition faced are the type of games our younger players need to try and kick-start there celtic careers.
    Yet its not happening, and thankfully it did make a difference last night in the end.
    If Rodgers has no trust within the younger players, then we potentially have a big problem upon our hands.
    If largerman or rocki produced a performance as poor as Philips last night, I would be jumping straight upon the waste of money bandwagon.
    Could understand getting Philips in with the injuries at CB for the CL alright, but by christ if that’s Rodgers idea of getting in 1st team ready players into the squad with experience, then dreading January?
    Would prefer to see Rodgers cut out his pettiness of late, especially against these lesser team’s, with his experience as the answer, especially when so many aren’t delivering in these type of matches.
    Luck will only last so long, with such a policy from himself in play, and last night nearly cost us very badly imo.

  • jrm63 says:

    It has been pretty obvious that CCV is only operating at 80%. I would say AJ is operating at 80%. Holm attacking the box was key. Oh is improving. Stay central and his physical conditioning looked much better last night

  • SSMPM says:

    Rotation, rotation, rotation. We need to get these squad players into the team more to get the optimum out of them and all the current regular 1st team starters via rest. If I were a Turnbull for example I’d be gutted at what I might see as not being considered a 1st team regular and thus not starting if others such as Cal, O’Riley, and Hatate always start if fit. I may consider leaving for game time elsewhere.
    The Bhoy has talent and can finish, and what a finish, but maybe consistency or durability might be an issue for him. Knowing you’ll get games in a rotated team and changing that 1st regular starter focus to that of a 1st team squad player would help him and all the players tbh.
    Hopefully that too might help keep injuries to a bare minimum with others, especially those coming back from injury to avoid what I believe occurred with Hatate, putting too much expectation to perform and subsequent strain on the body and mind. Also from happening to others such as CCV, Ali J, new CBs, Holm, etc, and those we know that are susceptible to injuries like Abada and Mikey J. In that way we could I hope also improve, develop and rotate formation to give Taylor a break, fit the likes of Maeda and particularly Oh more with a 2 up front, even if that means a new striker in Jan to help rest Kyogo more and fit him in with that much needed operation. After all is that the reason we lost GG?
    The argument that some other teams in the league on lesser budgets manage to turn out 1st team regulars consistently without so many injuries is on the face of it worth discussing. However they are not pushing themselves to the same extent ie
    in as many games, with as much required energy and intensity, against more higher quality teams, not involved in travel to and playing in international matches particularly if they’re also not going far in domestic cup games.
    Have a think Bredan haha. HH

  • woodyiom says:

    I’ve been saying this since Lennon was manager (2nd time) when at one point CalMac played more minutes than any other professional player on the planet two years running!

    The only problem is that right now we are missing Hatate and its way too much of a risk to have neither of them playing IMO – Turnbull and O’Riley are too similar to have them both in the team with a Bernardo/Iwata behind them – the speed of play would be too slow. I’d wait until the New Year and rest him in the early rounds of the Scottish Cup irrespective of who we draw.

  • SARAH says:

    Totally agree, long overdue we protect Callum. But so should Scotland and Callum needs to tell Clarke he isn’t available for friendlies

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