In cool customer Cameron Carter-Vickers, the Celtic manager Ange Posteocoglou possesses precisely that sort of character in the heart of defence. Heck, the 24-year-old centre-back has even acquired from his team-mates the moniker The Fridge … though that might be a reference to the loanee from Tottenham Hotspur sharing a brick outhouse physique with the hulking 1980s American football tackle William Perry who was originally bestowed the sobriquet.
In more ways than one, Carter-Vickers has been the bedrock for a Celtic hoping to convince the US international to sign permanently from the London club in a deal thought to be worth around £6million. His unfussy assurance has allowed him to forge a reliable partnership with Carl Starfelt. Indeed, the pair have never lost a domestic game when in tandem. And the most profound change Postecoglou has presided over re-animating the failing Celtic side he inherited, owes much to composure and conviction that Carter-Vickers fosters on and off the pitch, according to his manager.
"Cam's been great,” said the Australian. “We got him in on deadline day, so for him to be such a consistent performer for us considering he missed all of pre-season and the season had already started by the time we got him in is a credit to him. He's been a fantastic addition to our playing staff, he's also a great person to have in the dressing room. He's really calm and belies his years in the way he conducts himself, he acts like a really experienced player. He's been an important part of our group and he's had a great year. He had a really good three or four years in the Championship. He didn't just survive in that league, he did very well. When I watched him and did my research on him, he looked a type that could provide leadership, particularly at the back, and that's how it's proved. There's still enormous improvement.”
An unassuming but driven professional, Carter-Vickers ticks so many boxes for Posteocglou. “I try to go for the low maintenance ones, it makes my life easier,” the 56-year-old said. “There aren't too many who have given me headaches this year. He's definitely in that camp but he wants feedback and he works closely with the other coaches on one-to-one feedback. He has an inquisitive mind so he gives his own opinion about how things are going and what we should be doing. He's been a good part of the group, not just as a footballer but as a person.”
And when it comes to The Fridge tag, Postecoglou understands its provenance in recalling Perry, who practically had his postcode. Beyond that, the Celtic manager is typically non-committal. "If the boys feel it's apt … I do remember the original 'Fridge' that was definitely my era and he was a bit of a unit as well who got about the gridiron field pretty well,” he said. “I'll leave nicknames to others, that's not my area …”