Celtic boss opens up on his centre-backs, makes admission on Carl Starfelt

Ange Postecoglou says he will not judge new centre-backs Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers on the first part of their Celtic career, admitting they have been thrown in at the deep end.

Carl Starfelt joined Celtic this summer.

Both Starfelt and Carter-Vickers arrived at the club this season and were immediately pressed into action, with in particular Starfelt – an arrival from Rubin Kazan – receiving scrutiny for his early performances.

Postecoglou, however, accepts responsibility for any sub-standard performances so far and believes both players have a lot of scope for improvement.

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“I felt for Carl because we threw Carl in and I think he had three or four different centre-halves as partners and he was new himself,” said Postecoglou. “People were judging him on what they saw. I knew there was more in him and I still think there is. Cam we just threw in. We signed him on deadline day and virtually threw him into the first team. The good thing about Cam is that he’s a real calm character. He’s mature beyond his years. Even though he’s fairly young he has settled in really well.

Cameron Carter-Vickers in action for Celtic against Ferencvaros.

"The key for both of them is that they want to learn. They want to develop, they want to improve every week. They’re coming in, sitting down with coaches doing the analysis and I think they’re getting confidence from that. The way we play is not easy for any centre-backs. We ask a lot of our centre-backs. We ask them to play out from the back and then we’re asking them to squeeze up and be aggressive with our defending. It’s a lot easier to play centre-back in other teams I can guarantee you, but they have tackled it and we know there is more to come.

“We’ve shown faith in them and I’ve said to them all along, ‘whatever happens out there, if it doesn’t work, I’m accountable for it, not them’. I’m not going to judge them on what happens in the first part of their Celtic career. What’s important for me is that they are continually looking to learn and understand how we want to play our football. If I saw that, then I would keep encouraging them, and that’s been happening.”