JOHN HARTSON has urged Celtic to have a colossal clear-out in the summer.
The former Hoops goal hero reckons the nine-in-a-row champions must be ruthless following the disappointments of a season that promised so much back in the summer.
Peter Lawwell, 61, chief executive since 2003, will retire from his post in June to be replaced by 42-year-old Dominic McKay, who has worked in an executive capacity at Scottish rugby for 16 years.
And Hartson, who has already stated it’s time for his old team-mate Neil Lennon to quit as manager, insisted a host of players should be following the Parkhead supremo through the exit.
The Welsh international legend, speaking to the Scottish Football Podcast, said: “It’s not good enough in a season that started where they were expected to create history; unprecedented in terms of the success that they’ve had, 12 trophies in a row, the quadruple treble, which is incredible.
“How can this happen? Somebody’s got to take accountability for this. And it’s not just the manager. That’s why I say I think it needs a clear-out because it’s just not been good enough, the standard’s not being good enough.
“The goalkeeper, you know, they paid £5million for Vasilis Barkas. That is a huge fee for a goalkeeper in Scottish football and to then realise that he’s not up to speed and he’s not at the standard. Of course, yes, it can happen. And it HAS happened.
“But in terms of getting the recruitment spot on, you can go on about the goalkeeper – but it’s happened all across the board, right the way up to the forwards this season.”
Hartson was adamant there should be an almighty purge on the player pool and said: “I’m thinking of Olivier Ntcham. I’m not sure about Kristoffer Ajer, I’m thinking about Shane Duffy going back (to Brighton).
“I’m thinking about Odsonne Edouard and maybe they have to try to offload Albian Ajeti because how many goals has he got? He’s not somebody that the fans are excited to see coming back into the team. And there are probably two or three more.
“I think Edouard was desperate to go. Last summer, I think they sold him the dream in terms of trying to stay for 10 in a row. That hasn’t quite worked out.
“At the start of the season, you’re probably looking at £25-30million for him. I don’t think that would have dropped too much. All the teams now in England have got money. West Ham have got £30million to pay for a striker. Southampton have got it. West Brom have got it; not just the top four or five clubs now.
“Your Arsenals, Liverpools, Citys, Uniteds, Chelseas. They are not the only ones with money now because of the TV money and everything else. So I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the lower-end teams goes and pays £25-30million for him.”
Jeremie Frimpong, of course, has just left in an £11.5million switch to Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen and Hatem Abd Elhamed has also been linked with a return to Israel after apparently failing to settle in Scotland.
There will be others on the move with replacements coming as Celtic’s squad for the new campaign is revamped, but there is still business to be done in this campaign and no-one is surrendering the crown.
The Hoops are 23 points adrift, but have three games in hand with 15 league outings still to be played.
Lennon’s side ended a run of four games without a win by beating Hamilton Accies 2-0 on Wednesday with strikes from Leigh Griffiths and Edouard.
The Frenchman limped off before the end, but should be fit to line up against St Mirren today.
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