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‘JUST A NONSENSE,’ HARTSON VERDICT ON GUARD OF HONOUR CALL

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JOHN HARTSON has labelled calls for Celtic to give Steven Gerrard’s players a guard of honour at Parkhead as “just a nonsense”.

The former Hoops striker scoffed at the notion the home players should applaud their opponents onto the pitch when they are due to meet in the east end of Glasgow a week on Sunday.

The Ibrox club, of course, shunned any such tribute to Neil Lennon’s champions after they had clinched their eighth successive title.

Hartson asked: “Why would you start it now? And where do you stop it? There is respect between players.

“Celtic don’t need to be told this season that Rangers have deserved it. And the players will appreciate just how well Rangers have played and how consistent they have been.

“But the guard of honour thing is just a nonsense, really. They are rivals and there has to be mutual respect, but you can have that without needing to go down the guard of honour road.”

Hartson, speaking to the Daily Record, commented: “Celtic have been disappointing this season. Everything that could go wrong went wrong.

“But at the same time when you reflect on what they done and how they dominated Scottish football for a decade, there has to be an admiration for everything that they achieved.

OH, NO…Leigh Griffiths shows his despair after hitting the post in the loss at Ibrox at the start of the year. 

OH, NO…Nir Bitton’s sad expression as he is sent off.

OH, NO…Mohamed Elyounoussi’s grief as his shot hurtles just over the bar.

“Nine successive titles is extraordinary as was the quadruple trebles – that won’t be done again. And I’m fairly sure that in that run there would have been a fair few chances for Rangers to offer a guard of honour at that time which they didn’t.

“That’s not me being a former Celtic player and speaking like this. I just honestly think that there is no need to start it.”

A rebuild at the fallen champions will take place this summer with the former frontman insisting Eddie Howe or his former Welsh manager Mark Hughes are both ideal candidates for the job.

Hartson added: “Eddie might not know Scottish football, but it would not take him long to get up to speed and I think he has a decent track record. I thought he did well at Bournemouth with the budget that he had and they played decent football.

“Mark was my manager with the Wales national side and he would be a fantastic shout for the job, too. He is meticulous. Every detail is gone over he’s someone that players like to play for.”

Hartson proved to be a winner for Celtic when Martin O’Neill paid Coventry City £6million for his services in 2001. The burly hitman won six honours, including three titles.

He netted the championship-clincher against Hearts in 2006 with a thunderous first-timer beyond Craig Gordon.

 

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