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Thread: Central defence

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    Central defence

    Given our current defensive woes I would not be surprised to see Lennon going into the free agent market and bringing in another central defender on a short term contract till January. With the solid McGregor and Fontaine both out long term it leaves us with only Efe Ambrose and Paul Hanlon as our first team central defenders with the highly promising but still raw Ryan Porteous as back up. The problem we have is that both Hanlon and Ambrose are similar types ie primarily ball playing central defenders and both for me lack aggression and an ability to compete in the air. Ambrose for me lacks concentration at times and is a bit of a maverick who wants to do his own thing rather than be a functioning part of a solid defensive unit, and Hanlon is having to not only do his own job but watch his defensive partner constantly and cover for him. All of the above is causing us big problems at the moment and is certainly costing us goals. I've nothing against Ambrose as a player he is a very assured confident lad who reads the game well and has played at a high level and is also an internationalist...I just feel his somewhat unconventional style of defending is not having a good effect on our defensive shape. Added to all that is yet another potential defensive injury problem with David Gray meaning Whittaker is likely to slip into the right-back slot if SDG has to have some time out. I rate Whittaker as an attacking player but not as a defender.

    With some big matches coming up I don't think the manager can afford to take any chances and he must be concerned at our recent defending. I think he may be tempted to bring someone in short term. Anyone else think the same ?
    "I can't stress enough how important it is to be in possession of the football - it is better to be the matador rather than the bull"

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    Sooner the better. Our defending is a disgrace

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    not sure if we will bring anyone in or who would be available but even before the injuries thought Lennon was tinkering too much with the back four, would have been happy to give Gray, Daz, Hanlon, Lewis a chance to start season and make changes if under performing

    don't know what the answer is now but we are looking shaky at the back
    until the sky turns green

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    I was surprised to see Porteous on the bench last night and agree with your points about Ambrose and Hanlon being similar ball-on-the-deck centre halves. I think Porteous has done enough to earn himself a start in the current circumstances alongside either Ambrose or Hanlon (I would probably opt for Hanlon alongside him as a result of Efe's dodgy moments) and will give us a bit of a presence that has been lacking with Fontaine/McGregor out.

    I'm not sure whether we'll bring someone else in, we did that with Brian McClean last year and he only played a couple of games. We have three fit centre halves and Bartley/Whittaker to fill in if we're really struggling during a match. If we pick up another injury then I think that's a different story.

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    I don't rate Ambrose I'm afraid

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    We are missing Darren, no doubt.
    Efe has been iffy for weeks. Lacks 100% concentration and nowhere near as good in the air. However, looking at recently conceded goals, combine Efe with Whittaker (and actually Bartley too) and we have a really dodgy right side of the defence. Lewis may have his flaws but he is more focused and pacier than Roger.

    Iffy is really a midfielder playing centre back.
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    Ambrose is not a good defender, its not all his fault but playing him at CH will cost us massively. Great on the ball (sometimes), fit and experienced however he has no positional sense and is continually caught out with balls played into our box or into defensive channels.

    Hanlin is fine, Ambrose is the problem, IMO. I agree, Lennon might (should) sign back up at CH, getting quality on a free will be difficult though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibs1337 View Post
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    Ambrose is not a good defender, its not all his fault but playing him at CH will cost us massively. Great on the ball (sometimes), fit and experienced however he has no positional sense and is continually caught out with balls played into our box or into defensive channels.

    Hanlin is fine, Ambrose is the problem, IMO. I agree, Lennon might (should) sign back up at CH, getting quality on a free will be difficult though.
    I don't think necessarily we need quality back up as I agree this will be very difficult to find in the free agent market at this stage, I just think we could do with someone in there as a stop gap. We are short of bodies and we don't really have anyone who can just play the "big stopper" role and just win balls in the air. That is a centre half's main function and at the moment we just look inadequate there. With the prospect of a visit to Celtic Park looming in the next fortnight as well as the likes of Aberdeen and a Hampden date for the League Cup semi-final IMO we just don't look equipped at the moment defensively for the task ahead. It really depends on the managers judgement as to how long McGregor is likely to be out v our chances of getting in a central defensive stopper who could perhaps do a job in the short term and see us through this period.
    "I can't stress enough how important it is to be in possession of the football - it is better to be the matador rather than the bull"

    John Hughes

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    With Efe in defence I'd always be playing a back three...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
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    With Efe in defence I'd always be playing a back three...
    With Efe in a back four we often are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forzahibs View Post
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    I don't rate Ambrose I'm afraid
    You sneaking back into some games, D?!
    Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'...

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    Quote Originally Posted by aggie View Post
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    You sneaking back into some games, D?!
    No just my opinion from last season and the few highlights I've caught

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forzahibs View Post
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    No just my opinion from last season and the few highlights I've caught
    Ah. IMO, he's fun to watch when we're on top, but he's not the guy you want in the trenches when we're under the cosh.


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    That defence just shows how much we miss McGregor at the back.

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    More concerned with the full back situation. If David Gray goes out injured for any length of time, or there are suspensions, we're left with just two experienced full backs. Dont understand why a quality left back wasn't brought in. Big mistake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aggie View Post
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    Ah. IMO, he's fun to watch when we're on top, but he's not the guy you want in the trenches when we're under the cosh.


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    Takes too many chances for me , he'll get caught out this season I fear

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    I like big Effe , for sure he will cost us a few goals, but over the season I think he will easy make it for that. A big athletic guy , who must be a nightmare to play against. Football is meant to entertainment , and the big guy puts a smile on my face.
    He's 10 ten the player Mcpake ever was, F&&k knows how many goals he cost us but some made him out to be " thee man"

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    We’re scoring plenty goals but conceding far too many. I don’t think any of our defenders and goalkeepers is exempt from criticism.

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    Ambrose has been no worse than Paul Hanlon the last couple of games, so it seems he's the easy target out of the two. Also, Whittaker isn't playing well at all either.

    We are a shambles at the back, but we can only play what's available. Lewis is a must for left back though.

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    I don't think Ambrose & Hanlon are a good pairing - they're too similar in terms of looking for the pass over clearing their lines. As it stands, we only have these two experienced defenders fit, so Lennon has to persist with them unless he wants to take the gamble with young Ryan Porteous.

    It doesn't help that Gray & Whittaker haven't been in good form.

    I'd also add that defending is the responsibility of the entire team, and something that we as a team lack the appetite to do. The defending at set pieces being the prime example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HibeeZab View Post
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    I don't think Ambrose & Hanlon are a good pairing - they're too similar in terms of looking for the pass over clearing their lines. As it stands, we only have these two experienced defenders fit, so Lennon has to persist with them unless he wants to take the gamble with young Ryan Porteous.

    It doesn't help that Gray & Whittaker haven't been in good form.

    I'd also add that defending is the responsibility of the entire team, and something that we as a team lack the appetite to do. The defending at set pieces being the prime example.
    Good post.
    "I can't stress enough how important it is to be in possession of the football - it is better to be the matador rather than the bull"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve20 View Post
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    Ambrose has been no worse than Paul Hanlon the last couple of games, so it seems he's the easy target out of the two. Also, Whittaker isn't playing well at all either.

    We are a shambles at the back, but we can only play what's available. Lewis is a must for left back though.
    Easy target of the two to who exactly ?

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    There's no voice anywhere in the backline or goalkeeper. Rarely do you see anyone barking orders and organizing the defense as a unit. I think we have some good defenders in the squad, just not playing as a unit.

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    With SDG injured, whits just not really performing IMO, I'd move efe to right back where his lack of concentration at times isn't almost guaranteeing a goal like it seems to be in the middle and play porteous and hanlon together... sorry if anyone said this already just quickly skimmed through it

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    Quote Originally Posted by C4MMY View Post
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    With SDG injured, whits just not really performing IMO, I'd move efe to right back where his lack of concentration at times isn't almost guaranteeing a goal like it seems to be in the middle and play porteous and hanlon together... sorry if anyone said this already just quickly skimmed through it
    I wouldn’t move Efe to right back, but I wouldn’t be against him playing on the right of a back three with Porteous in the middle and Hanlon on the left side - this would also allows Whittaker to play further forward where he seems more comfortable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HibeeZab View Post
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    I wouldn’t move Efe to right back, but I wouldn’t be against him playing on the right of a back three with Porteous in the middle and Hanlon on the left side - this would also allows Whittaker to play further forward where he seems more comfortable.
    I also think that would be a good idea...however on the down side it leaves us with no central defensive cover on the bench if any of them get injured.
    "I can't stress enough how important it is to be in possession of the football - it is better to be the matador rather than the bull"

    John Hughes

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