Celtic Fans Should Congratulate Our Defenders, But Then Agree We Should Move Them On.

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Celtic’s centre back pairing of Cameron Carter Vickers and Liam Scales was not one we’d have considered before this campaign began.

It is another indictment of our signing policy to note that we have brought three centre backs to the club over the course of this campaign, two for reasonably good money and one on loan from the EPL, and this is what we’re ending the season with. Not one of the two who are left look like getting in the team and staying there.

This is obviously a problem, and we saw what that problem looks like in all its gory glory yesterday when we conceded a goal at the end of normal time and then one at the end of extra time to send us to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

Liam Scales has been a miracle man for Celtic. His performances have vastly exceeded our expectations of him. He should be applauded. We should be grateful for his solid form throughout the campaign, and especially for that wonderful display early on at Ibrox where he was one of the reasons we won that unexpected victory.

But on no account should he be at the centre of our defence next season. That cannot happen. We very badly need to start thinking bigger, and look for players of a much higher calibre. Nawrocki cannot get into the team in front of him; that doesn’t look good for him going forward either, and although I know we can’t continue to buy players and cast them aside, the first transfer window of this campaign looks as if it’s a virtual write-off.

And those “running” the club, who are entirely responsible for that, might just have to swallow that. There will no rehabilitating some of these guys. You saw Yang yesterday too; a raw talent but someone who wouldn’t be in the first team if other people were available, and he at least is still with the squad and still getting games; the same cannot be said for Tilio or Kwon or even Holm, who seems miles off it right now and clearly isn’t impressing the boss.

There needs to be a radical rethink in the summer, and it has to start at the back. We need at least one top class central defender, and I think quite possibly two of them. That means moving on Lagerbielke and Nawrocki.

It means getting Kobayashi out the door. It means making Welsh and Scales backup players, and neither of them might be happy about that … but we can’t be sentimental and we clearly can’t go into the Champions League with the current players.

Our defensive record this season hasn’t actually been as bad as most people seem to think, but whenever we are put under pressure, we panic a lot more than we should, and a lot more than a side with real quality players would.

It’s the other thing about project players; in a cup semi-final you do not want to be depending on them if you are under siege, as we were yesterday when we threw on Nawrocki late. He wasn’t responsible for us losing the goal, but that’s what we were eventually reduced to.

It seems clear that the manager doesn’t rate our current defensive options, and that he will need to make big changes in that area during the summer. I didn’t think we needed a massive rebuilding job in the summer at the start of this campaign; perversely, in signing so many players who won’t cut it we are facing one now, and in the interim have lost Jota, Abada and Starfelt. The loss of the two wingers has been felt, keenly. The loss of Starfelt is arguably worse.

And that’s one of the things we have to rectify as a matter of urgency.

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  • Gordon Raeburn says:

    Scales and Taylor were awful at the second and third goals and Yang is not a raw talent. He is a complete waste of a Jersey. Don’t forget Rodgers’ substitutions were woeful too. Am I the only person who thought the grass had been left deliberately long to stifle our passing game. The ball hardly reached it’s target.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    “We clearly can’t go into The Champions League with the current players” (Defenders)…

    That much is for certain James –

    But if they ‘defend’ as they did yesterday…

    Then we will be very bloody lucky to be there at all –

    In fact defend like that in the final five games and we simply won’t be anywhere near it at all !

  • Eldraco says:

    If we are being honest here we need positions almost right across the park if we make CL. Who walks straight into a CL team right now and competes?

    There is no one in the back line , aj just, on the left no one, mids mor just, cal is too slow now, tomoki lost the plot, up front kyogo . Thats it.

    All this because of poor , very poor investment by the board. Am dreading CL to be honest unless they spend the 70 plus a other 30 whilst clearing out the augean stables. Yes its that bad imho.

  • Bob L says:

    James, agree on much of what you say, but there is one glaring omission. As I mentioned in previous posts, teams throw high balls into the area where Taylor is/should be. Result, goals conceded. He works hard but should be nowhere near a good Celtic team

  • Mark Rouse says:

    There needs to be a massive rebuild over the summer. We need a keeper, centre back, left back, centre mid, left mid, and a striker. That’s even before we probably sell O’Riley. To sign reasonable quality in all those positions we are looking at a £35 million plus spend, Lawell won’t sanction that sort of overhaul. We should be building a model where we only need a couple of quality additions each year, instead last summer set us back to almost square one.

  • Fun time frankie says:

    Sotty james but imo Welsh and scales must be sold in the summer ,wè had the chance to get a couple of million years ago for Welsh but he’s still there pulling a wage for very little game time,and scales is living off one game at the Govan dump imo.

  • Dennis Begley says:

    Well we will face Rangers twice before the end of the season and theit tactis as well as other teams get high balls into the box as we are hopeless at dealing with them and the goalie isn’t great dealing with them either,in my opinion we are weak physically in defence and midfield and it would be good to see some players come in that can hold their own, the next transfer window will tell if we’re up for it.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      We won’t face ‘Rangers’ twice before the end of the season Dennis but we will face SEVCO twice before the end of it…

      And some good points you raise as well there !

  • Effarr says:

    The next transfer window will be determined according to the final analysis of this season.
    Win the league and all these things may, and definitely should, come to pass. Lose it and the message from Pete to Brendan will be….”just see what you can do next year, Brendan, you know how tight things are at the moment: that`s a good boy”.

  • John says:

    Agree a keeper 2 c Half’s a full back and 2 wide men badly needed other wise the Huns will take over as regards the champions League they won’t win a game john

  • king murdy says:

    i never, ever, fancied starfelt, from the first time i saw him in a celtic jersey, to the last….ALWAYS thought he was a bit of a bomb scare…
    but never, ever, thought i’d say…”come back carl starfelt – all is forgiven”…

  • Paul Mc says:

    First, we need someone in charge of scouting and signing who can work with the manager on targets. We surely must be identifying a GK, LB, CB, DM, LW, ST and a replacement for O’Riley. That’s a lot in one window. I know having squad players is important but we definitely need to get better at selling who we can. Nawrocki, Lagerbielke, Tilio, Holm, Koba and start:
    Promoting one or two academy players to squad (they are no worse than recent buys and have better potential)
    Sorting the scouting out asap
    Rip up this under 23 development mentality. Yes it’s good sometimes but not for every player
    Look to English leagues, Scandanavia, Portugal, Eastern Europe. Those lads are hungry for games and exposure, with a working mentality

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