The system for Celtic full-backs: Why it’s fun to be one under Ange Postecoglou


Celtic’s Liam Scales celebrates making it 1-0 against Raith Rovers. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)

For Celtic, under the management of Ange Postecoglou, it is different. There is no surprise when one of the team’s full-backs appears in a dangerous area with plenty of space.

That was the case with the opening goal in the 4-0 win over Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup fifth round at Celtic Park on Sunday.

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Liam Scales stepped on to a Tom Rogic pass. With Aidan Connolly being dragged into the box, the left-back had time to set himself and fire a shot past Jamie MacDonald from 20 yards.

No matter if it is Scales and Anthony Ralston, Greg Taylor or Josip Juranovic, playing full-back for Celtic appears to be a very fun role within the team’s strategy.

“It’s different to most left backs what we do in other systems,” Scales said. “I think it allows you to get in to more advanced, creative positions than a traditional left or right back would.

“It’s something different and I really enjoy it. The manager wants his full backs to show in pockets on the inside rather than be outside because it gives the opposition something to think about. The opposition winger isn’t sure whether to go inside or stay where he usually stays, you find space a lot.

“I’ve had to learn it as I’ve never played in that system before here, but we do a lot of work on it.

“You can see as the season has gone on, all the full backs have taken to it.

“Sometimes you end up in positions attacking midfielders turn up and I got the chance to shoot out there.

“I sometimes do it in training but not all the time – that was special!”

Standards reminder

Scales, a summer signing from Shamrock Rovers, revealed that Postecoglou made it clear the first-half performance wasn’t good enough.

A strong reminder to the team that there are very high standards at Celtic Park under the Australian.

“There were mixed emotions as we didn’t quite get to our levels in the first half,” the Irishman said. “We were much better in the second half and it’s good to progress in the competition.

“But it says the standards are very high here. The scoreline looked good but the performance wasn’t where it needed to be.

“The manager got that message across it wasn’t good enough and you saw the difference in the second half.

“I’m not sure why, we just weren’t clicking. It happens in football but we needed to be quicker and Raith did quite well.

“It’s a reminder the standards are so high. He wants us on top of our game no matter who we are playing against – and rightly so.

“Does he have his moments? I’m not sure if I can say!

“It’s obviously frustrating for him when we are not getting to the levels we know we can.

“He has to get his point across, like every manager does.

“The competition is high here and everyone wants to do well when they get their chance, so it’s disappointing when you don’t hit those levels.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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