As the saying goes, the best form of defence is attack. But it isn’t always as simple as that – especially when you are holding onto a one-goal lead in the final minutes of a game away from home.
We’ve seen it be a problem in the past for Celtic under Ronny Deila, when the defence was defensively weak, and even during Neil Lennon’s times at the club. On Sunday, Celtic’s defensive problems of old came back to bite them for the first time this season in Inverness, and it’s an issue that needs resolving.
The more I see Dorus de Vries play, the less convinced Celtic fans, including myself, are of his ability.
Brendan Rodgers isn’t the perfect manager, but if he was, he wouldn’t be managing Celtic. Instead he’d be going toe-to-toe with Pep Guardiola for the Premier League title, rather than facing the world’s greatest manager in the group stages of the Champions League.
De Vries isn’t convincing and seems more like a panic move in the transfer market, especially given the timing of it while he was still injured at Nottingham Forest. The Irishman isn’t filled with confidence by Craig Gordon either, leaving Celtic in a strange position until the window opens in January.
Gordon is certainly the better shot-stopper of the two, but it’s the 21st century side of the goalkeepers’ duties that puts De Vries ahead of Gordon in Rodgers’ eyes.
When it was announced that Rodgers was taking over at Celtic, the immediate reaction was elation. A Celtic fan who knew the demands of the club and the fans, being one himself, who would bring attacking, modern football to the club.
Playing the “Celtic Way” meant Rodgers and Celtic were a match made in heaven, and we’ve seen already the fluidity of the forward play, just months into a side he has yet to really make his own. Over the next two transfer windows, we will start to see Rodgers build his team, and with the Champions League money earned this season alone, there may be a gem or two waiting in the wings for Rodgers to snap up.
Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele have both proved their worth already in attack and will be key assets to the club’s success in the coming years.
The downside to that of course was apparent two years earlier when Rodgers was in charge of Liverpool. In 2014, they came within a Steven Gerrard slip of winning the league title, winning games 3-2, 4-3 and 6-3.
The common factor in these games was that they picked up three points – vital of course – but they also leaked goals for fun, which certainly kept the fans on the edge of their seats. What happened next was a complete capitulation against Chelsea and Crystal Palace, and the title went north to Manchester, but there was a small consolation for the Scousers, it was to the blue side of the city.
Celtic won’t have to deal with those same issues to win the league this season, as they already boast a three-point lead over Hearts with a game in hand still to be played.
Tonight’s game can see Celtic move one step closer to their first silverware of the season with a victory over Alloa Athletic in the League Cup quarter-final.
Over the years, Celtic’s failure in a cup game has been their downfall. Time after time they failed to replicate their domestic treble win back in 2000/2001 for one reason or another.