Former Celtic striker and BT Sports pundit Chris Sutton has hailed Celtic defensive duo Cameron Carter Vickers and Carl Starfelt for the part they had to play in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Rangers at Ibrox.
The Celtic defence has been mentioned on many occasions this season, whether that be for positive or negative reasons, with both players playing a crucial role in the defensive backline that has conceded the least goals this campaign.
Yesterday afternoon, they showed exactly why they hold that current goals conceded tally, putting in a mammoth performance to secure all three points for Ange Postecoglou’s side in Govan.
Before the weekend’s fixture, Sutton highlighted both CCV and Starfelt as potentially the Hoops most important player going into this game, and writing in his weekly column for the Daily Record; the Englishman was also full of praise for their performance.
“I made it crystal clear before the game at Ibrox that those two were going to have to be outstanding for Celtic to win. Both players were every bit as good as they needed to be.
“In fact, they were even better with one of them coming up with a winning goal. Carter-Vickers and Starfelt were asked time and time again to defend their box. To cope with set plays, to match Rangers strength in those situations.
“Time and again, they came up with the answers. Time and again, they put a head on things. They got a block in. They hustled and harried a striker. Kemar Roofe might not have given them as stiff a test as Alfredo Morelos may have done, but who is to say they wouldn’t have handled him as well?
“There was no clean sheet, but that wasn’t really their doing. They were left exposed when Josip Juranovic got caught with a ball inside. But from that point, they were superb and gave Celtic the type of backbone which they have lacked in some of the recent matches against Rangers, especially at Ibrox.”
As Sutton mentions, not only did they impact the game at the back, but both players were influential in the winning goal of the game, with Carter Vickers finding himself in the right place at the right time to strike home.
The two players have been absolutely crucial for the Hoops during the long unbeaten run domestically, dating back to September.
Despite receiving so much criticism from pundits throughout the season, you would imagine both would be well on their way to a comfortable place in the team of the year, and Sunday’s performance showed exactly why.