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HERO QUERIES HOOPS RECRUITMENT

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CELTIC have brought in six players in 2020 since they signed Patryk Klimala and Ismail Soro in deals worth a reported £5.5million in January.

The nine-in-a-row champions spent an additional £12million in the summer in recruiting striker Albian Ajeti (West Ham, £5m), goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas (AEK Athens, £4.5m) and midfielder David Turnbull (Motherwell, £2.5m).

Plus they added three on loan deals – attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi (a second period from Southampton), central defender Shane Duffy (Brighton) and left-back Diego Laxalt (AC Milan).

The new Bhoys have failed to click as the team have stuttered and stumbled this season, have been knocked out of the Champions League, Europa League and the Beftred League Cup, dropped 11 points behind Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit with two games in hand and have won only two of their last 10 outings.

However, ex-Hoops hero Alan Stubbs insists beleaguered boss Neil Lennon is NOT to blame for the newcomers with several of the arrivals failing to inspire.

The former central defender, who helped stop the Ibrox charge for 10 in a row in 1998, told the Scottish Sun:“Recruitment is massive at any club and it strikes me Neil isn’t responsible for a lot of the signings.

“So, why should he carry the can for them?

“I’d also ask why he hasn’t been allowed to bring in his own backroom staff.

“John Kennedy isn’t his man and neither is Gavin Strachan. He doesn’t have his people with him and that’s always difficult for any manager.”

Nick Hammond is the club’s head of recruitment, but has failed to deliver – so far. It must be hoped Barkas, who has looked less than ordinary, and hot-and-cold frontman Ajeti get into their stride in the vital months ahead. Others will have to respond, too.

Stubbs, who was a match analyst for Premier Sport during the 2-0 loss to Ross County on Sunday, added: “Watching the game, I thought there was a real lack of unity out on the pitch.

“There was no togetherness. When things weren’t going well, there was an acceptance.

“That’s not what Neil was about as a player and it’s not what he’s been about as a manager.

“He even alluded to that after the game and talked about what Martin O’Neill would have done.

“The fact is, there would have been a few people running for cover had Martin been the manager.

“That said, he had the characters who would have taken that on the chin – and football isn’t like that any more.”

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