Brendan Rodgers has gone on the defensive over Celtic’s back four.
The hoops finished 2017 with four clean sheets but before that they lost four goals at Tynecastle and 12 in two matches against Paris Saint Germain.
Marvin Compper has been brought in from RB Leipzig with most hoops fans hoping that he can form a new partnership with Kris Ajer.
Injury problems didn’t help Rodgers as he tried to get the blend right at the back but the Celtic boss has decided to back his defensive partnerships.
“There’s a lot of focus on our boys defensively, but there has to be a bit of respect and reality as to who they are playing against,” Rodgers explained to The Sun.
“Celtic didn’t qualify for the Champions League and they had Virgil van Dijk and Jason Denayer at centre-half. Who do people want Celtic to get? If we can’t qualify with those two…
“I hear a lot of talk about ‘get a new centre half’ but defensively our team I think is very, very good albeit we could always be better.
“I think there is always a light shone around our central defence but we are a collective. We defend as a team and press as a team.”
In last season’s Champions League Rodgers had a fairly settled defensive partnership of Erik Sviatchenko and Jozo Simunovic but that pairing never played together once in this season’s competition.
For the final qualifier away to Astana Nir Bitton and Ajer were paired together for the first time with Mikael Lustig also used in central defence during the Champions League.