JOHN BARNES insists fans will see the real Celtic this season – now the dreaded ‘Curse of Ten’ has been lifted.
The former Hoops boss believes the weight of going for the historic tenth successive title plus the fact there were some wantaways in the squad backfired on his old club.
Neil Lennon departed Parkhead in February only two days after an awful 1-0 loss against Ross County in Dingwall and John Kennedy took over in an interim basis for the remaining 10 games as the team limped in an inexplicable 25 points off the pace in their championship quest.
Ange Postecoglou has taken over as manager, three players – Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie – who made it clear they wanted to be elsewhere have now joined English clubs and Barnes reckons the squad has been strengthened with some shrewd buys such as Joe Hart and James McCarthy as well as the introduction of loan signing Cameron Carter-Vickers from Spurs.
CONFIDENT…ex-boss John Barnes is backing Celtic to recover from the ‘Curse of Ten’.
The Liverpool and England legend said: “The pressure from last season didn’t do the team any good – it almost became a curse.
“Last season and last year was a tricky one for everyone. All the uncertainties with Covid affected some players more than others.
“Celtic never managed to find their rhythm, which Rangers took advantage of.
“There was also talk about some of the Celtic players not wanting to be there, which obviously had an impact on team morale and the overall togetherness.
“Whereas now there’s a new manager in place and I really hope that everyone gets behind Ange Postecoglou and gives him time.
“Improvements have been made and the team looks as strong as ever – and happy.
“Yes, they’ve lost some of their key players, but, in all honesty, I don’t think that matters too much as they’ve also gained some really good players.
CELTIC HUDDLE…James McCarthy congratulates Albian Ajeti after his second goal in the 3-0 win over Ross County.
“To add James McCarthy and Joe Hart to the squad is massive – they’re two players who want to be there and their experience will add so much to the team.”
Barnes is convinced central defender Carter-Vickers will build on his impressive debut display when he claimed the deflected opener in the 3-0 win over Ross County at the weekend.
The ex-Parkhead gaffer, speaking in a report in the Scottish Sun, added: “Cameron could be one of the more important signings Celtic do this season.
“Last season, the team wasn’t too bad going forward, but they struggled consistently with things at the back.
“So, to add someone like Carter-Vickers should make a huge difference – he’s proven to be a very constant defender with a really good attitude and that should help Celtic a lot.
“If things work out, he may even be there for the long term, which after seven loan moves from Spurs may not be a bad thing.”