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Celtic: Rafa Benitez can revive their rocky defence

This has been an awful season for Celtic but things could be set to change in the coming weeks.

That’s if Dermot Desmond finally pulls the trigger and sacks Neil Lennon. A host of replacements have been talked about from Eddie Howe to Jack Ross, but a new name is now on their radar.

On the chalkboard

For Celtic, this has been a campaign completely out of the ordinary. They have had an almighty stronghold over Scottish football in the last decade, winning an impressive nine titles in a row.

Rangers haven’t even been in the equation until this season, but they have bounced back in tremendous fashion. The Hoops are 23 points behind their fierce rivals and are sinking without a trace.

Although Lennon’s management has to be questioned, undoubtedly their biggest problem on the field has been their defence.

Do you want Benitez at Celtic?

Definitely

Definitely

No way

No way

With Christopher Jullien out for the next four months, things are only set to get worse for a side who have shipped 11 more goals than Steven Gerrard’s team. That’s despite playing three fewer games in the league.

Their defensive problems extended to Europe as well where they conceded a mighty 19 goals in just six outings. Thus, if they are to get themselves out of this rut, they must improve in that area.

Benitez to arrive?

Fortunately, the Bhoys could be on the verge of bringing a defensively adept coach to Glasgow.

Rafael Benitez has been linked with the Parkhead hot seat over the last few days and if Dermot Desmond is able to hand him the keys, it could be game-changing.

That’s because Benitez instantly revived the fortunes of Newcastle in his last major job in British football.

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Although he was held back by the financial constraints of Mike Ashley, his impact was felt almost immediately in the northeast of England.

The Spaniard was brought to Newcastle in March of 2016 with the club staring relegation in the face. They still went down, but Benitez showed that he does have what it takes to turn round a crisis – bringing them back up the year following.

The 60-year-old failed to win his first four opening games but then went on an unbeaten run towards the end of the campaign where the Magpies were unbeaten in six.

In the process, they kept three clean sheets and conceded just once in a 5-1 rout of Tottenham. Considering they’d conceded 56 times in 28 games before his arrival, it spoke volumes about the type of impact Benitez can have.

This type of record has the potential to be huge for Celtic. Of course, they aren’t in a relegation battle but it’s evident that before addressing any other aspects of their play, they must sort out the defence.

Hoops pundit Russell Boyce said last month: “I would go all out for Benitez, I think he would be the absolute masterstroke. He would be ambitious and I genuinely think he would generate the club more money than he would cost them.”

For that, and for the fact he’s improved a disastrous situation before, he’d be ideal for Desmond. That’s without considering his European pedigree too.

AND in other news, Hammond could find Celtic’s new McGeady with swoop for “outstanding” 6-goal gem…

Article title: Celtic: Rafa Benitez can revive their rocky defence

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