As Ange Postecoglou’s managerial tenure has entered a period of poor performance and some have begun to ask questions, it's a good time to do a more extensive analysis of Celtic’s performance levels in the league so far this season.

As laid out in my first column, I developed a conceptual framework for measuring and analyzing club-level performance over the long term. Within that “expected trophies” model, two important developments have emerged. As argued in this column following the close of the transfer window, the financial resources and squad quality are both likely to be lower this season versus the last.

To further build upon this concept, an introduction of a metaphor is today’s topic: the Celtic Jenga Tower.

Within this metaphor, one can think of the building materials which comprise each block to be the relative financial resources of each club.

Platinum – a circumstance in which a club has a clear and dominant financial advantage. For example, in the seasons in which Celtic qualified for Champions League and prior to Rangers’ return to having more than 50% of Celtic’s wage bill.

Gold – when a club or clubs are at the next level just below platinum. I would argue that this season both Celtic and Rangers fit this description.

Copper – these are the clubs who have more resources than the bottom half of the league, but are well behind the “precious metals” level- Hearts, Aberdeen, and Hibs, for example.

READ MORE: Celtic transfer assessment: Joao Jota, Cameron Carter Vickers and James McCarthy under the microscope

Wood – clubs that are in the “middle class” from a financial perspective. They have enough resources to stay out of relegation battles if reasonably well run.

Cardboard – they are the clubs with the lowest financial resources. Livingston, and prior to relegation last season, Hamilton would be examples.

Obviously, the scale of this metaphor shifts within a European context, where Celtic would probably fall within the Copper characterization. But domestically, the club has squandered what had been a material financial advantage over Rangers by failing to qualify for Champions League for four straight seasons.

The quality of the materials is simply the first step on our metaphorical journey. Next, we look at the architectural schematics of the tower and what the required measurements are for each to be built. As Celtic painfully discovered last season, a Platinum level piece, such as an English Premier League-level defender, may actually decrease the tower’s solidity if the shape doesn’t match the tower design.

In the instance of last season’s Celtic, the managerial team’s 4-2-3-1 “tower” required attacking fullbacks to create chances and a dual pivot in defensive midfield equipped to stifle a well-known vulnerability in defensive transitions. Below those pieces in the tower resided centre-backs who were to play a high defensive line and have significant ball distribution and progression responsibilities. Unfortunately, a combination of poor recruitment and managerial selection decisions resulted in misshapen pieces place into the structure. The resulting lack of a solid foundation resulted in the tower crumbling despite the overall wage bill and accompanying talent level being well above domestic competitors.

For this season, I fear Celtic have committed many of the same mistakes, only amplified by the reduction of financial resources and the accompanying decline in squad depth and talent level. This may be partially offset by the relative skill of the new manager, but that is likely insufficient on its own to overcome some of the structural challenges.

As we move from the base of the tower to the top, the players recruited for the back five appear to be just 1 out of 4 having a profile that suggests their “shape” fits with the tower’s design - Josip Juranovic. Despite Joe Hart’s excellent start relative to shot-stopping and his character making him a refreshing and impressive arrival, his deficiencies relative to mobility and what the tower’s design has required from keepers in the past has resulted in vulnerabilities. For example, AZ Alkmaar and Rangers appeared to specifically target the gap in space created between the tower’s high CB line and Hart remaining near his box, rather than the space 10 to 20 yards higher that a more agile sweeper-keeper would occupy.

Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers have shown varying levels of skill in ground duels to date, and have been for the most part effective, but they lack the high-end recovery pace which suits playing the tower’s high line, and neither have a track record to date as being proficient ball-playing centre-backs. Urhoghide has yet to show he is well suited for either the central defensive or right-back role, and appears a misshapen signing.

Juranovic has a history developing as a midfielder and has already shown his flexibility in being able to play competently as either a right or left-back. His skill set is well suited for the tower’s inverted fullback design. The persistence with Montgomery, and now potentially Scales, when Bolingoli, a piece well suited for the design of the tower, remains available to increase solidity, remains mystifying to me.

READ MORE: Scottish football pendulum has swung away from Celtic thanks to board's lack of foresight - Tony Haggerty

As we move forward to the midfield, the tower requires a single pivot who is dynamic and a rapid distributor of the ball to ignite attacks, while covering a large amount of space to stymie counter attacks. Does that shape sound like McCarthy? Shaw may have the athleticism, but his technical level may not be at a required standard, and similar to Soro in that regard. My conclusion? More misshapen pieces.

The forward line offers some hope, as Kyogo is an ideally suited gold piece acquired for a copper price. Jota and Abada have aspects that make them reasonable, if not ideal, shapes for the tower. Jota’s final third decision making and finishing remain question marks, while his ball progression and ability to take defenders on is excellent. On the flip side, Abada’s finishing appears top-notch, but much of the rest of his game remains enigmatic. Giakoumakis profiles as a very different striker to Kyogo, so will be interesting to see if his style of play can suit the tower.

With the new arrivals reviewed, this leaves the players held over from last season. McGregor stands out, similar to Kyogo, as an excellent fit, with his ability to find space and rapidly distribute the ball from the single-pivot position. However, neither Turnbull nor Rogic have displayed the play or historical profile for the attacking box to box midfield dual spots. These positions demand significant athleticism and require intensive and efficient pressing, tracking back to assist in defending, contributing via creative passing and late runs into opponents’ box to prevent the striker from becoming isolated.

Taylor similarly struggles with the athletic demands, while Ralston the technical ones for the inverted fullback role. Forrest may be well suited from a skills perspective, but he’s now a 30-year-old winger, who will be losing pace as part of a normal age-based physical decline.

Celtic hired a manager with a very specific tower architecture, and have assembled a bunch of pieces that are misshapen relative to that design. When McGregor and Kyogo return from injury, they will most assuredly make a huge difference, but they will not fix the pervasiveness of the misshapen pieces within the foundations - namely the back five.

Sunday’s game versus Dundee United was an instructive contrast. The Terrors have moved towards a more modern and progressive club structure, with a coherent strategy from the academy up through the first team. While they are dealing with wood pieces, they have been selected to fit into a coherent tower design, and the result is a more robust and effective structure. In fact, during significant portions of the game, one may have been confused as to which team was built with ten times the resources.