Ever since he arrived at Celtic in the summer, Ange Postecoglou has always played with a 4-1-2-3 formation, with inverted full backs. From what Celtic fans understood, this formation and tactic would remain an ever present, with Ange having full belief that this structure would bring us success.
In fairness this formation and tactic has been a pretty successful one. But games like midweek against St Mirren proved that when teams set up a low block pretty much the entire game, it is very hard for us to penetrate it. We saw lots of possession and lots of sideways passes that didn’t go anywhere. And if our crosses aren’t on point, or we don’t take our chances from them if they are, we come unstuck.
But today saw the gaffer change formation to something we’ve never seen him play at Celtic before, a solid 3-5-2, including three out and out defenders, Scales and Juranovic as wing backs, and Kyogo starting up front with Liel Abada. Unfortunately Kyogo went off injured after only 15 minutes, so we didn’t get to fully see what type of partnership he has with Abada, but we got a glimpse of it with Abada’s first goal, with Kyogo providing the decoy run to leave Abada virtually unmarked in the centre to connect with the cross and steer the ball home at the second attempt.
We also saw the passing mixed up. Again, against St Mirren, the ball was on the deck all the time apart from when we got to the byline and put a cross in. Today the passing was much more varied, with McCarthy and Bitton chipping balls into the strikers, it made their defenders have to think and work and worry about being turned or runs in behind, rather than just stand in position watching the ball being passed side to side in front of them.
It is going to be much harder for teams to prepare for us if we are comfortable playing a variety of different formations with different personnel.