Celtic news: McLeish frets over deep defence v Livingston

By Darren Bent

21st Jan, 2021 | 10:00am

Exclusive: McLeish shares simple Celtic tactics change that can inspire turnaround

Alex McLeish has urged the Celtic defence to push further up the pitch after the 0-0 draw at home with Livingston.

The former Rangers and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Hoops’ backline dropped far too deep against David Martindale’s team and in doing so left too much space between the midfield.

The Bhoys were forced to name another depleted side against Livi due to self-isolation protocols, with Anthony Ralston handed a rare start as part of a defence including Shane Duffy, Nir Bitton and Diego Laxalt.

Gavin Strachan remained in the dugout in place of Neil Lennon who, alongside assistant manager John Kennedy, was also forced into isolation after Christopher Jullien tested positive for Covid-19.

McLeish admitted he was alarmed at how deep the Hoops defence retreated against Livingston and insisted they needed to play the game on the front foot if they are to get back to winning ways.

McLeish told Football Insider: “I definitely have seen Celtic in the last game, that draw against Livingston, their defence was a lot deeper than perhaps they were last year.

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“In the seasons before, they normally pushed up and there was not as big a gap between defence and midfield.

“In the Livingston game I could see them dropping a little bit deeper and Celtic, a team like Celtic, who are going to dominate games, can’t do that, they can’t sit that far back.” 

Celtic currently sit 21 points behind league leaders Rangers, although they do have three games in hand over their Glasgow rivals.

They will be hoping to close the gap at the top when they take on Livingston again, this time away from Parkhead, on Wednesday night.

In other news, Football Insider can reveal Celtic have slashed price of senior star to just £7million.