Can Scottish Clubs Stop Celtic?

Dublin , Ireland - 7 July 2018; Moussa Dembele of Glasgow Celtic celebrates after scoring his side's first goal with team mates during the friendly match between Shamrock Rovers and Glasgow Celtic at Tallaght Stadium in Tallaght, Co. Dublin. (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

After Kilmarnock chief Billy Bowie stated his vision to have his club competing for the league title in the future, many Scottish football fans were quick to applaud him for this ambition but questioned how it would ever come true. The domestic dominance of the Scottish Premier league that Celtic have shown over the last seven years has no sign of slowing down.

Can Scottish Clubs Stop Celtic?

Winning the league title for a seventh straight year highlights just how unstoppable Celtic have become. The fall of Rangers and both Edinburgh teams suffering relegation left only Aberdeen to compete against the Green side of Glasgow. Now that Rangers, Hearts, Hibernian and Aberdeen are all competing for the top positions in Scotland, there seems to still be ways of threatening Celtics’ crown.

What Can These Teams do to Change That?

The first and obvious thing that these clubs have to do is recruit well. Hibernian could be  be without John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch and Scott Allan. Allan’s loan has ended and will return to Celtic. Stevie Mallan will be a welcoming addition. Florian Kamberi is an excelent option upfront.

Steven Gerrard will have a huge task ahead of him. His first senior management job at Rangers will be interesting to watch unfold. His summer recruitment could be the difference between success and failure. After finishing third last season, the current Rangers squad had plenty of deadwood.

Scott Arfield is a welcoming addition and fan favourite while Allan McGregor adds more competition for the goalkeeping spot. Rangers have built a solid centre-back pairing but still need to add a couple of creative players who will take risks going forward. Ryan Jack and Ross McCrorie covers the defensive side of the midfield but going forward, there aren’t many in the current squad who can pull the strings.

Sadly, the norm with Scottish football is that the best players move on. Kenny Mclean has already made his switch to Norwich. Dylan Mcgeouch will be a big miss for Hibs and Stuart Armstrong will begin a new chapter in his career with Southampton. John McGinn’s future is still up in the air. Rangers’ top goal scorer Alfredo Morelos has had interest from China in the past.

Clubs are Becoming Competitive

The standard of the league has improved in recent years. As Celtic continue to show they are on a different level from all the teams in the division, most clubs have begun to close the gap in class between the raining Scottish champions. Big names have solidified themselves in management such as Neil Lennon, Craig Levein, Steven Gerrard and Steve Clarke. With the exception of Gerrard, all of these managers have had high coveted jobs in the sport domestically and internationally.

Steve Clarke has put life back into Kilmarnock. He has guided them away from a relegation battle to a fifth-place finish. Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson has also made great strides in the Scottish football scene, most notably leading Motherwell to two consecutive cup finals. However, it would be surprising to see these two clubs competing against the top four this season.

Lennon has taken his newly promoted Hibs side to a fourth-place finish this season. Craig Levein has brought in a whole wealth of players which will only make Hearts stronger as they were forced to play a lot of youngsters last season due to the lack of depth they had.

Although it is far too early to judge Gerrard’s chances of success. His reputation alone draws more eyes on the league. Aberdeen head coach Derick McInnes continued to battle at the top end of the table.

How Do You Stop Celtic?

Last season saw Celtic’s domestic undefeated streak come to an end after suffering a 4-1 defeat to Hearts. Clubs such as Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Hibernian all managed to take all three points off the champions. Similar styles of play were noticeable in all the matches.

The first thing is to accept that Celtic will have the majority of the possession. Aberdeen only had 37% of the ball in their 1-0 victory against Celtic. Defensive discipline is crucial to keeping Celtics attacking powers at bay. One thing that many clubs do is sit back and allow Celtic to constantly attack in the hopes to get the ball and counter attack. More often than not this style of play doesn’t work.

Pressing Celtic in key areas is key to getting a result against them. Pressing them high up the park and not letting them settle into a rhythm is very important. Shutting down players like Derick Boyata, who are known to make mistakes under pressure, will unsettle the player and the team.

Kieran Tierney is a wonderful young talent but he’s very one footed. Showing him onto his right foot will force him into uncomfortable positions as proven when he played right back for Scotland.

A composed and pressing style of play gives teams the best chance of taking away vital points from Celtic.

Are The Hoops Too Strong?

The tough reality is that Celtics financial backing is far more superior to any club in the league. Rangers have spent a lot of money in the window but they simply couldn’t build a squad that could match Celtic’s current crop. Clubs like Kilmarnock and Motherwell don’t have the financial backing to go and add that extra quality needed to fight for second-place never mind the top spot. Both the Edinburgh clubs have large supports but simply couldn’t spend the money Celtic have.

It’s hard to see things changing anytime soon. Celtic have a great balance of young and experienced players, countless internationals and a very good manager in Brendan Rodgers. Stuart Armstrong may have left for Southampton but the midfield is already loaded with talent. The permanent signing of Odsonne Edouard that cost the Glasgow club £10 million shows the that Celtic have the money to simply

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Only Club thatcan beat Celtic is CelticAberdeen and Hibernianwill bestrongcontenders.Sevco havea new Messiah in Stevie Blunder,That Circus Act wont last.Gerrard will be backin England by Xmas.

  2. There is no Club in Scotland can or will stop the Celtic.And thats minus Blatant Cheating the taxman EBT wage bumper enticements.Celtic are the Biggest and Best in Scotland…Aberdeen and Hibs will do well this coming season.

  3. Do You Think Rangers in Liquidation will Ever pay back Every Penny and Come out of Liquidation.And what exactly would happen to Sevco Then.What with them Claiming to be a Dead Club,Mr Hamilton.

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