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Neil Lennon acquires classy centre-half

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Charlie MulgrewHas there ever been a bigger transformation in a player than Charlie Mulgrew 2011?

When Mulgrew was named in the Celtic side to face Rangers at Ibrox in January most supporters wondered what Neil Lennon was thinking about.

Now if Mulgrew was left out the Celtic boss would have some explaining to do.

From the moment that he came on to partner Thomas Rogne at home to Aberdeen the 24-year-old has barely put a foot wrong.

Mulgrew strolled through the next four matches, against Hearts, Aberdeen twice and Rangers away playing alongside Rogne, Mark Wilson and Daniel Majstorovic with the poise of a veteran.

“Charlie has been superb,” Lennon admitted yesterday. “He’s not put a foot wrong and the bonus with him is that he gets us playing from the back. His composure is fantastic. The two centre-half’s were immaculate.”

Watching any centre half with the ball at his feet can be a fraught experience.

‘Just blooter it, Row Z, or stop trying to play football’ usually accompany the worrying sight of a defender with time on the ball.

Against Rangers, and £4m Nikica Jelavic, Mulgrew played through the 90 minutes as if he was enjoying a kick-about amongst pals.

It’s hard to believe the clamour and desperation amongst the supporters for another defender to be brought in during the final stages of the January transfer window.

Any brute of a centre-half, 30 plus with recent Premiership experience and costing over 20k per week would have been welcomed as the man to reinforce Celtic’s title bid.

Instead, as February has developed, the former Wolves, Southend and Aberdeen man has taken his opportunity and probably saved the club a small fortune.

When Mulgrew returned to Celtic in the summer on a Bosman there were no fanfare’s with only Sheffield United offering competition for his signature.

Following in the less than distinguished footsteps of Momo Camara, Lee Naylor and Edson Braffheid expectations over Mulgrew were rock bottom.

A dodgy left-back that could take a mean free kick was hardly likely to transform Celtic’s fortunes with dumbing down and squad man the kindest descriptions offered following his signing.

This morning, having played a significant part in three dominating performances against Rangers, Mulgrew is a player transformed.

Despite his relative youth in the position the former Aberdeen man seemed to be the one providing a calming influence at the back.

At times this season Daniel Majstorovic has had a firefighting job keeping the defence together but since the turn of the year Celtic have lost only two goals in the SPL with one of them down to eagle-eyed Willie Collum.

Yesterday’s win over Rangers put Celtic back in control in the title race- if Neil Lennon’s side goes on to win the championship no one will deserve, or enjoy, that success more than Charlie Mulgrew.

Gary Hooper- more than a goalscorer

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10 comments

  • shug says:

    “It’s hard to believe the clamour and desperation amongst the supporters for another defender to be brought in during the final stages of the January transfer window”.

    i belive this website was at the same clamouring!

  • joey says:

    I just have to say every Celtic player played fantastic that was the best they have played as a team.

    I was at the match and every home fan was on their feet and singing, I want to see that at every game because the players were fantastic and the fans were as well so keep it up hail hail

  • Joe McHugh says:

    No clamour fro this site Shug.

    Majstorovic was out for 2 weeks, Rogne a little longer.

    Putting Wilson and Mulgrew together for a game or two was less risky than parachuting in someone new and expensive.

    Mulgrew showed in two games against Aberdeen and against Hearts that he could play the position.

    In the last month he has excelled and I’d say that he is now the first pick in that position.

    As emergency cover Lewis Toshney and Matty Hughes are both more than capable of stepping in.

  • jocky bhoy says:

    It also helps the confidence of the squad to have players developing and growing rather than bringing in some “big-time charlie” – I think the arrival of Diouf will have unintended consequences for what was a tight little group over in Mordor. Let chaos reign!

  • Joe says:

    Throughout the game on Sunday at our club in Vancouver, I kept saying to my mates how impressed I was with Mulgrew, he played a cool calm and collected game throughout and took no prisoners in the process.

    However, let’s not get carried away with this season yet. Unitl we get some silverware, and preferably the championship, we have nothing to crow about yet.

    We have imporoved in a huge way since Lennon started to focus on his job as a manager and coach rather than the one he was being sucked in by the media as a ref hater and rebel against all things offical. Keep your eye on the ball Neil and we will be champions.

    Allow them to distract you again and we won’t. Hail hail to a great performance on Sunday though.

  • Frank McGaaaaaaarvey! says:

    Spot on Joe. I can guarantee you Lenny will not be letting those players get carried away with themselves. We have won NOTHING yet. Can’t overstate how delighted I am with the unbelievable progress we have made since the turn of the year but there is still a heck of a long way to go. We are definitely on the right road (On The One Road?) anyway.

  • harrybhoy says:

    couldnae agree more..his distribution from the back is somethin we’ve been missin since alan stubbs, hes solid and composed..rogne will & should find it incredibly difficult to get his place back..stroll on charlie mulgrew!!

    It’s great to live in the knowledge that we have strength in depth..an equally strong replacement for every position on the pitch..

    C’MON THE HOOPS!!

  • Stevie says:

    I thought Charlie was bought for the left side of midfield never thought he was bought for left back.
    Just shows you what I know feck all.
    Charlie could save us millions because a left footed center back would cost £*******.

  • Jay says:

    A Rock!!! I was one, I’m not afraid to say, that was a little concerned about Mulgrew! He has proved all his naysayers wrong! Easily could’ve been the man of the match! (so could a few of the Bhoys though).

    Like Joe said though, nothing won yet! Let’s keep our eye on the ball, and we’re home free! By the way, Joe, I watched the Dynamo Moscow game at your club two summers ago! I was in from out of town! Thanks for the hospitality! Had a blast! Hail Hail!

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