JOHN HARTSON reckons Celtic’s fringe players blew the chance to impress Ange Postecoglou against St Mirren in Paisley on Sunday.
The Hoops boss brought in Anthony Ralston, Stephen Welsh, Aaron Mooy and David Turnbull for starts against Stephen Robinson’s side, but none of the quartet shone as the champions collapsed to an insipid 2-0 loss.
The shake-up backfired and Postecoglou was quick to accept responsibility of startng a match without the influential Filipe Jota, Reo Hatate, Josip Juranovic and Matt O’Riley while rock-solid centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers was missing through injury.
BALL BHOYS…Anthony Ralston and Stephen Welsh clash going for the same cross in Paisley.
It was time for some of the peripheral figures at Parkhead to step up and show the Greek-Australian they were worthy of first-team consideration every week.
But the visitors could not shake themselves out of a lethargic start and never upped the tempo against a team that took full advantage with a goal just before the turnaround from Mark O’Hara and another from Jonah Ayunga – a clear foul ignored by referee Don Robertson – to hand the title winners their first league defeat one day short of a year since they toppled at Livingston.
Former Hoops goal hero Hartson said: “You could say that there were too many changes.
“Maybe one or two of the lads who did come in, they have to realise that when they get their chance, they’ve got to put something in Ange Postecoglou’s mind that: ‘Can I now leave this lad out the next game?‘.
PAIN IN PAISLEY…the Celtic players troop off after the 2-0 setback against St Mirren.
“You’ve got to make an impact, you’ve got to do enough just to give the manager something to think about. And at the weekend, Ange is not thinking that way.”
Hartson, speaking to Go Radio, added: “He’s thinking these fringe players, the likes of Mooy, the likes of Ralston, the likes of Welsh, they may be thinking: ‘I want to be playing more‘, but that was your opportunity.
“That was a good opportunity to come in and to continue where you left off in terms of Celtic winning.
“That’s what you need to do when you come in and get your opportunity.”