Former Scotland defender Alan Hutton has dismissed the idea that Celtic need to make defensive alterations following the injury to Carl Starfelt.
The lowdown: Starfelt injured
The centre-back missed all of pre-season with a hamstring injury picked up against Slovenia whilst away on international duty with Sweden in June, staying behind to recover at Lennoxtown as the Hoops squad headed to Austria.
The 27-year-old was also left out of the 2-0 opening day Premiership win over Aberdeen, although Ange Postecoglou has recently confirmed that the former Rubin Kazan defender is nearing a return to action.
In the absence of Starfelt, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Stephen Welsh were paired at the back for the season’s curtain raiser at Parkhead as loan signing Mortiz Jenz watched on, with Welsh getting the Bhoys up and running with the first goal of the afternoon, and one intrigued onlooker has had his say on the defensive situation at Celtic…
The latest: Hutton expects defensive stability
The BBC Radio 5 Live pundit said: “I think for the start of the season he [Starfelt] would’ve been first choice.
“Going off the back of last season, they won the league, so I don’t think there’s any real need to change it. I think [Greg] Taylor will start the season also.
“But, you’ve got people breathing down your neck and that’s what Ange wants to really kick on. I think that back four will probably stay the same until otherwise.
“Maybe people hit a bad patch in form and then you’ve got that replacement to come in. It’ll be an interesting one because everybody is fighting for that starting place.
“They’re all good enough so they’re going to push each other all the way and it will be a good contest.”
The verdict: Good competition for places
Competition for places is imperative if Celtic are going to make progress with the current crop, and Welsh’s impressive 8.20 Sofascore-rated display has certainly given Postecoglou something to consider when Starfelt does return.
With Champions League football back on the agenda at Parkhead, the squad is going to be tested to its limits this season, and having ready-made replacements waiting in the wings is going to be imperative if it’s to be another successful campaign for the Hoops.
Do Celtic need more signings?
Yes, get more in!
No, perfect business done
Last season, the £5.4m-valued Starfelt – who was described as ‘athletic’ by Postecoglou – was a standout performer for the Scottish champions. He made 49 appearances across all competitions whilst earning a 7.20 Sofascore rating, winning 6.3 duels and making 3.6 clearances per game and helping to keep 18 clean sheets in 34 league outings.
That form won’t be forgotten easily and the 6 foot 2 Swedish colossus will certainly be hopeful of making a prompt comeback to the starting XI over the coming weeks.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience