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‘CELTIC NEED THREE PLAYERS,’ HARTSON

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CELTIC legend John Hartson reckons Brendan Rodgers still needs THREE new players before the transfer window closes.

The former Hoops fans’ favourite watched his old team annihilate Astana 5-0 in the Champions League play-off first leg at Parkhead in midweek.

But he insisted last season’s treble winners could do with strengthening in three key areas in the team.

Hartson said: “Looking at this performance, I would say they could do with a midfielder, a centre-back and a centre-forward – Moussa Dembele seems to pick up a few injuries.

“Listen, though, Celtic will just want quality players anywhere on the park.”

Rodgers was forced to play Israeli international midfielder Nir Bitton in central defence again with Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko injured.

And Leigh Griffiths, who played only 29 minutes against Partick Thistle on Friday in an effort to rest his calf problem, was the lone spearhead without back-up striker on the subs’ bench.

Dembele, scorer of 32 goals in his debut campaign at the Hoops, missed the final six games of last season after his hamstring injury in the 2-0 Scottish Cup semi-final win over Rangers on April 23.

The French Under-21 attacker has started only one match this time around – the 4-0 second leg win over Linfield in Glasgow last month.

Rodgers has had to pitch midfielder Tom Rogic and winger James Forrest into the pole position while Griffiths has toiled for fitness.

Hartson, though, was fulsome in his praise of the six-in-a-row champions and pinpointed Scott Sinclair’s first strike as the most important against the Kazakhstan champions.

He added: “The second goal was the goal of the night for me.

“It gave Celtic a little bit of a cushion as they went in 2-0 up at the interval.

“That was so vital in its timing. The opening goal came from a brilliant pass with good pace on the ball from Mikael Lustig to Tom Rogic.

“He drove into the box, no-one wanted to tackle him as they were aware a touch could knock him over.

“Rogic slipped past a couple of players and did really well to dink it over their keeper before it got a touch off a defender on its way into the net.

“And there was a great run from James Forrest for the fourth goal,

“When he got the ball there was no thought about squaring it to a team-mate.

“It was a good touch from Griffiths and good movement from Forrest before he scored from the angle.”

For the record, it was Celtic’s biggest win in Europe since September 2002 when Martin O’Neill’s team walloped Lithuanian champions FK Suduva 8-1 in Glasgow on their way to the UEFA Cup Final in Seville.

Hartson scored one of the goals with Henrik Larsson (3), Chris Sutton, Paul Lambert, Stan Petrov and Joos Valgaeren claiming the others.

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