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LEGEND INSISTS ON HOOPS CLEAR-OUT

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LISBON LION Jim Craig insists Celtic need a massive player clear-out in the summer.

The former right-back, who set up Tommy Gemmell for the equaliser in the memorable European Cup triumph over Inter Milan on May 25 1967, believes Brendan Rodgers’ full-time successor will have to hit the ground running.

Craig reckons interim boss Neil Lennon has earned the right to a permanent second stint in the Hoops hot seat.

The sprightly 76-year-old, speaking to The Scotsman, said: “In the case of Neil, where you have a man who is obviously suited to the job, it depends what the club want.

“Do they want a new face coming in with entirely new ideas?

“They’ve got far too many players here, for starters. They need to get rid of a few because the pool is far too big.

“I would like to take you back 52 years. When we won the European Cup, there were two goalkeepers, three full-backs, three midfielders and six forwards.

“Now, if you compare that to what is around just now, it’s night and day. So, you’ve got people who are not necessarily vital to the first team still here and still collecting a wage. I think that’s got to be reduced a bit and become more manageable.”

BAWL BHOY…Neil Lennon urges on his players.

In the aftermath of sad passing of two of his fellow-Lions, Billy McNeill and Stevie Chalmers, Craig added: “Neil deserves great credit, of course he does. He’s maintained a presence there and made sure the team haven’t been affected by everything that’s happened.

“It’s also true to say they’ve not been playing the best football you’ve seen in recent years. But they’ve got enough points to maintain their position and win the league. Now they’ve got to add to that on Saturday.”

Celtic play Hearts on the 52nd anniversary of the club becoming the first UK side to conquer Europe when they overwhelmed Inter Milan in the Portuguese capital.

Now the present-day players can make their own history with a victory over Craig Levein’s Edinburgh outfit ensuring a phenomenal treble treble of domestic silverware success.

Lennon and his players enjoyed the applause of a 60,000 sell-out Parkhead on Sunday where two goals from Mikey Johnston gave them a 2-1 win over the Tynecastle men and kick-started the eight-in-a-row celebrations.

Now the focus is on doing it all again at the national stadium on Saturday.

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