Why it’s been all about the team unit for champions-elect Celtic
There’s no question Celtic boast many of the Ladbrokes Premiership’s top individual talents, with the likes of Moussa Dembele, Scott Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths in their ranks. But to focus solely on their star strikers would do the Hoops squad a disservice.
That’s thanks in large part to the fact that 15 different players have now scored in the Bhoys’ league campaign so far, with Croatian Jozo Simunovic’s opener in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat of Dundee making him the latest to open his account.
But he’s far from alone in the ranks of Hoops defenders making an impact at the other end. Dedryck Boyata has already netted twice in the league since his return from injury, while creative full-backs Kieran Tierney and Mikael Lustig have chalked up a combined 11 assists in the division.
And the Celtic defence also deserve huge praise for their consistently solid displays. They’ve shipped just 18 goals in 29 games, six fewer than any other side in the division, chalking up 16 clean sheets along the way.
Oh, and they also went five straight games without conceding on the road between the end of September and the beginning of December. Not too shabby.
Of course, goals – and lots of them – have naturally been the focus of most Hoops-related headlines this term. But while the men who’ve hit double figures have rightly earned praise for their finishing, the midfield maestros creating the chances also deserve their due.
The likes of James Forrest, Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor have all produced the kind of passing football which has left opposition midfielders’ chasing shadows, with the trio combining for over 20 assists this season.
Vital too has been the contribution of players like Nir Bitton and Scott Brown, who have done the unfashionable, nitty-gritty parts of the game to perfection this term, breaking up one attack after another and harrying opposition midfielders into mistakes.
Indeed, while bringing in Dembele for a mere £500k last summer remains Brendan Rodgers’ best individual bit of business, his biggest legacy looks to be in building a fantastic squad, who have dominated the division this season, and show no sign of letting up…
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing