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When you consider the basic premise of the most successful sides that utilise the 4-3-3 formation, the midfielders all follow a template; a holder, an attacker and a box to box, jack of all trades, energy ball. For example, Barcelona they employ Busquets as a defensive shield, Andreas Iniesta as the cerebral attacker and Ivan Rakitić knits both aspects together. Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and a whole host of others adhere to this premise.

Celtic, previously under Ronny Deila and now at the request of Brendan Rodgers, clearly favour this formation. Sadly, there is an obvious lack of personnel to fully exploit such a system. In the holding, screener role Nir Bitton looks a solid fit; he is technically accomplished, is spatially aware and physical enough to command a midfield.

In the more attack minded slot there are a myriad of options, I however, favour the case put forward by the stocky Australian Tom Rogic who appears to have all the attributes needed to thrive. His ability to drive with the ball, deliver incisive passes and unleash thunderous strikes, all protected by his fearsome physique, make him the standout candidate. My one gripe is that he all too often looks in need of a slap across the face and for someone to scream “SPEED IT UP!!!” in his direction. His tendency to dawdle in possession sometimes breaks up the fluency of counter attacks. Overall, the good far outweighs the bad.   

That leaves only the link-man, the key pivot in which the entire side hinges around. That man has been Scott Brown and therein lies the biggest problem (aside from a certain Efe Ambrose). The skipper no longer has the drive, tenacity or endurance that made him such a key component in the club’s recent history. Now he appears as something of a liability, a blundering weight in the centre of the park seemingly only able to misplace passes, goad opposition and attempt to engage in futile acts of intimidation. Brown’s time as the central hub of the side has come to an end and the need to feel the winds of change bluster through Parkhead have seldom felt so pressing.

Who could replace the tattooed, engine room operator? There are a couple of lads already in the squad who could stake a serious claim. First, and by far the most unpopular, is the beleaguered Stefan Johansen. The Norwegian has endured a torrid twelve or so months looking more and more disheartened with each passing day to the point where a transfer appears imminent. I think though that redemption is attainable. If he acknowledges that he lacks the cutting edge mentality and technical grace to operate effectively as a playmaker and agrees to carry more water for the side, then I feel that it could be a move that will prove mutually beneficial.

Secondly, Rodgers could opt for the much maligned Scott Allan. It seems like every fans wishes to see the former Hibs star at least be given a fair crack of the whip. In the few cameos that we were treated to last season Allan looks as though he could fit this system quite nicely.

What looks the most likely, especially considering the dismal showing in Gibraltar, is that Rodgers will look to bring in his own man, spending a sizeable sum in the process. Joe Allan is a name often touted and after seeing his showings for his native Wales at the recent European Championships it would be a signing to captivate the masses. With only one year remaining on his contract it looks attainable, running on the assumption that the £12million price tag reported in the press is inflated.

The last player I would suggest who could fill the void is Republic of Ireland and Derby sensation Jeff Hendrick. The twenty-four-year-old looked tailor-made for this role in his Euro showings, blending the physicality and technical aspects assuredly. At several points during the summer he was unlucky to see speculative efforts fail to find the back of the net. Burnley have already seen a £3million offer rejected so a successful bid would have to surpass the best tallies splashed recently.

Whatever avenue Rodgers decides to travel down he must surely do it fairly rapidly – if only to allay the growing fears of some fans. 

BEN DELANEY


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15 COMMENTS

  1. I am surprised you have not mentioned Armstrong McGregor or Henderson who have great engines are technically good and pass and move to create space.They all also can score goals.I agree about Rogic his only other problem is that he never lasts 90 minutes.I also like Brown

  2. Sorry Ben only point I disagree with is bitton he is slow laborious no urgency plays square and slows whole game down would rather c McGregor in that role HH

  3. I agree with tge sentiment around Brown. Not really been at the races recently and I wonder about his role desite being club captain and long time servant.

    To fire up the midfield we must freshen things up. I like Bitton and on his game has shown his talent but sometimes he can be like oil tanker turning in the night.

    Johansen has an unknown future so not sure if he’ll even be around to redeem himself. Rogic is a key player for me and should be on the team sheet week in week out.

    Armstrong is one player I think deserves a central role. He’s wasted out wide.

    Christie should be pushing Rogic, Allan pushing Bitton and Henderson pushing Armstrong. Brown’s role becomes more and more available with age, injury and impact.

  4. I think bitton could operate in the mascherano role for Celtic. Atleast in scotland.
    I’ve been a big fan of brown, but after Tuesday, I think he’s finished. I don’t think johansen is redeemable. I don’t think he wants redeemed. He wants to leave, and good riddance.
    Allan, Armstrong, Henderson & mcgregor should get gametime (probably in that order).
    I was impressed by Allen and Hendricks, but we can’t afford the wages they’d command, even if we could get the transfer fee. I think we have enough quality in the club to be successful. I just question the heart and determination of some of them.
    I think we could play a very successful
    3-5-2 (or 2-1-5-2 effectively). Jozo/Mulgrew/new guy, bitton, erik as back three. Tierney and janko/Robert on the wings. Pretty much any three from from six in midfield, and Leigh and dembele up front.

  5. I also agree that Armstrong and Henderson would be ideal in this role,Armstrong seams to have gone down in popularity with a lot of the Celtic support but the guy was played out of position and wasn’t really given a chance.I believe he would excell in this role.Liam would be the player to replace Bitton this role would be ideal for him.

  6. Alex Ferguson knew Roy Keane was finished & had the balls to punt his Captain, Keane obviously disagreed with Ferguson & was seething at what he saw was disloyalty after all he’d done for the Club. We ended up with Keane & Ferguson was proven right, he was finished his legs had gone, but in Roys head he was still the same player. He was in denial & it showed when Clyde’s young guns were skipping past him in the cup & he couldn’t get near them to challenge them, result? Papped out the cup embarrassed again. I watched Brown the other night & thought the exact same thing as Ferguson thought about Keane your finished here son your times up now hand the Captains armband to someone younger, fitter with fire in their heart. Does Brendan have the balls to do what Ferguson knew he had to do for the sake of the club? Certainly hope so but I ain’t too sure going by his previous comments about building the team round him. Denial is a dangerous thing, ask the Huns!

  7. Brendan’s paid big money,he has to make the tough decisions.I thank Broony for everything he’s done but his times up.We need someone who can inspire and lead by example not someone to pick fights and arguments when this are not going well.

  8. Jeff Hendrick, why not had a good euros.suprised a lot of people during the euros , while hearted gives it all. ???

  9. At the end of the day it’s not the end of the world, when he came on board BRENDAN ROGERS was the saviour , saviour from what, sevco getting promoted.why panic , if we are good enough we will get through to the next round. We need to stand together for our club.of course there will be blips along the way, we know there is some dead wood in the team, as a fan we don’t pick the team , so it’s down to BR to get it right. Let’s all stand together and enjoy the BR roller coaster ???HH

  10. Celtic’s last game of the season Vs Motherwell did not have Brown and we won 7-0. Maybe something like this team that played on the day is best: Gordon, Tierney, Sviatchenko, Ambrose, Lustig, McGregor, Johansen, Roberts, Rogic, Armstrong and Christie (Get rid of Ambrose and find a place for Griffith and you start to find a credible team)

  11. Gordon 3 ajer oconnel sviachenko 2 armstrong henderson 3 roberts mcgregor tierney 2 dembelle griffiths main subs allen rogic christie switch to 4 4 2 when defending, armstrong henderson great engines to get up to support and get back to defend or organise 1 always sits to protect breakaways and enough skill and pace to play Brendans pressing game H H

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