CELTIC legend Peter Grant has defended former IBROX boss Steven Gerrard’s decision to take over at Al-Ettifaq.

The Liverpool icon has been criticised for agreeing a move to Saudi Arabia with talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan claiming the one-time England hero’s reputation was now “in the toilet”.

Gerrard has been out of work since being sacked by Aston Villa in October last year – just 11 months after he quit the Govan club to take charge of the Midlands outfit.

The 114 times-capped star has joined the super-rich Saudi Pro League at the same time as Filipe Jota sealed a £25million move from the champions to agree a three-year contract with Al-Ettihad on a remarkable annual tax-free salary of £10million.

DERBY DUEL…Peter Grant in action with Rangers defender David Robertson.

Jordan savaged Gerrard’s move, but former Celtic favourite Grant said: “Listen, it’s an interesting one. I know other guys have got an opinion on it. But when you’re out of work, you want to work and you don’t want to go dry.

“You want to keep coaching, working with players. It’s very, very difficult no matter where it is. And I think people are questioning the fact that he’s going for money or whatever – Steven’s got to get back in.

“Like everyone else, we’re all desperate to work because we can’t replace playing. The only way you can replace playing is by coaching or managing, you’re in amongst the players, talking and watching about the game and wanting to improve.”

Grant, speaking to The Go Radio Football Show, added: “He’s going out there and I’ve got no qualms with that. You watch all these European managers, they go everywhere. You watch international managers and they all turn up managing different countries.

“And we’re critical if someone goes abroad and works when we think, ‘he’s gone there for money’. So what if he’s going for money? The bottom line is, it’s an experience whether it becomes good, bad or indifferent.

“It may take him further away from that Liverpool job if that’s the one he’s been looking for all this time.

“But, listen, it’s interesting to see him going away working abroad and I’ve got no qualms over guys going to work abroad so good luck to him.”

Meanwhile, there is a fabulous opportunity for Celtic supporters to spend time in Grant’s company at Malones Bar in Glasgow on Friday August 4 – the day before the champions kick off their latest Premiership crusade against Ross County at Parkhead.

The Hoops hero will be in conversation with Natasha Meikle with live music provided by Liam McGrandles.

* An Evening with Peter Grant details.

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