Scott Brown suggests sale of Virgil van Dijk has contributed to Celtic’s defensive issues

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Celtic sold Virgil van Dijk to Celtic on transfer deadline day.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Celtic skipper Scott Brown has suggested that the Bhoys have yet to adapt to the sale of Virgil van Dijk, and are suffering in the defensive third because of it.

The central midfielder said: “People forget as well sometimes the loss of Virgil [van Dijk]. A lot is made of the transfer fee and when you leave Scotland for that amount of money then it says everything. The way Virgil played for us last season was exceptional so of course he’s going to be a miss. But that’s where we have to work together as a team, become better and defend better at set-plays and create more chances.”

Van Dijk left Parkhead on transfer deadline day to join Premier League side Southampton, with whom he impressed in his debut performance.

The centre-back was one of the best performing players in Scotland last term, and showed his quality on numerous occasions as a ball-playing defender with a real talent all over the pitch.

In the game immediately following the Dutchman’s exit, Celtic put in a poor defensive display, conceding twice to Aberdeen in a loss at Pittodrie last weekend.

Ronny Deila started two summer signings in central defence against Aberdeen, with Dedryck Boyata and Tyler Blackett - on loan from Manchester United - lining up alongside one another.

However, Boyata gave away a penalty, and Blackett look far from composed, and the current league leaders won the game in the final moments with a route one goal from a wide long-range free-kick which should have never been a goalscoring chance.

Of course, losing a central defender is always going to be a challenge to recover from, especially one as vital as Van Dijk, and Deila will be hoping that summer signing Jozo Simunovic can prove to be the player good enough to replace the now-Saints star.

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