Scottish champions Celtic currently look well-placed to retain their league title crown heading into the World Cup break, with the Old Firm outfit now nine points clear at the summit following what’s been a truly relentless run of domestic form.
The Parkhead giants have now lost just once in the top flight since September 2021, with that rare blip having come away to St Mirren earlier this season, bringing an end to a remarkable 38-game unbeaten run in the process.
It was perhaps no coincidence that result came with first-choice centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers out of the side due to injury, with the stand-in pairing of Moritz Jenz and Stephen Welsh having been “all over the place” against the Buddies, in the words of journalist Josh Bunting.
The USA international’s absence in that loss only served to further rubberstamp his importance to Ange Postecoglou’s side, with the 24-year-old having been simply imperious since his initial loan move to Glasgow just over a year ago.
The former Tottenham Hotspur man proved crucial to the club’s title success last term – keeping 17 clean sheets in just 33 league games – having been dubbed the “best player in Scotland last season” by BT Sport pundit and ex-Bhoys striker Chris Sutton (05/10/2022, 19:41).
Such dominant showings for the 11-cap colossus – who has recently earned a place in his nation’s World Cup squad – have continued in the current campaign with six clean sheets in just 13 league games, having also showcased the other side to his game as he has completed 100% of his total dribbles, while also recording a 92% pass accuracy rate as a sign of his strength in possession.
The centre-back’s rise has even seen him take on the captain’s armband in the absence of regular skipper Callum McGregor, having been dubbed “an example to everyone else” for his on-field displays by teammate David Turnbull.
The fear will likely be, however, that such performances will attract notable suitors sooner rather than later, particularly should the Southend-born menace impress in Qatar, having reportedly been courted by a number of Premier League clubs before signing a permanent deal at Paradise in the summer.
As such, Postecoglou could well be wise to already be thinking about the future, with the club’s academy ranks potentially an ideal place to find a potential heir to Carter-Vickers at the heart of the backline.
One such centre-back who could well be an ideal candidate to step into the 6 foot 1 brute’s shoes is teenage starlet, Dylan Corr, with the promising 17-year-old having caught the eye for his displays in recent times.
The young Scotsman notably started all six of his side’s UEFA Youth League games this season – including the impressive 2-1 win over RB Leipzig – while he has also been a regular fixture for the club’s ‘B’ team despite his youth, making 14 Lowland League appearances so far this term.
The Glasgow-born talent was notably lauded for his performance in the win over Edinburgh University at the weekend, having been dubbed “excellent” by coach Stephen McManus following that 4-2 triumph.
While Corr won’t be one of the handful of youngsters making the trip to Australia with the first team for the upcoming Sydney Super Cup, he is certainly a talent whom Postecoglou should be keeping a close eye on.