The prinstine start by Ange Postecolgou’s men to their title defence that has yielded three wins and 10 goals in their opening round of matches, has been underpinned by set-piece menace. A phrase rarely uttered about any Celtic team in more recent times, over various managerial tenures. The visit of Hearts to Glasgow’s east end may only be the fourth league game of the current season but, as it stands, 40% of the Scottish champions’ goals have originated from set-pieces.
Postecoglou could pat himself on the back over Mortiz Jenz scoring two goals in only two appearances, and Stephen Welsh and Carl Starfelt finding the target. Instead, the Celtic manager places the credit elsewhere. He directs it not only towards the relevant coaching team member but also factors in the appetite for making these situations count among his squad - both in terms of plunderers and providers.
“It’s just the natural evolution of the team. Gavin Strachan is in charge of that area and puts a lot of work into it,” Postecoglou said. “There’s been a change in personnel, we’ve got players who really attack the ball. “Cameron Carter-Vickers scored four goals last season from centre-half so it’s good to see defenders contributing. We’ve got guys like [Matt] O’Riley, [David] Turnbull, [Aaron] Mooy and Jota who have very good delivery. We want to hurt teams in different ways. If they close us down we have to find different ways to score. Gavin puts a lot of work into it and we now have the players to capitalise on it.”