NEIL LENNON “is doomed” – if the manager’s defence do not stop gifting the opposition goals with reckless generosity that threatens to derail Celtic’s season.

That’s the damning verdict of former Hoops hero Davie Provan who also questions the recruitment policy at Parkhead – and wonders who scouted goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas, who again looked unimpressive in the 4-2 Europa League loss to AC Milan at the San Siro on Thursday night.

The most expensive shotstopper in the Parkhead side’s history had five shots to deal with in Milan – and allowed four to elude him while failing to convince while standing motionless at a long-range free-kick which threw the opponents a lifeline.

Barkas and Scott Bain have lost a mindboggling TWENTY-SEVEN goals between them in the last 11 games as the team’s last line of defence have both looked decidedly dodgy.

Provan, writing in his Scottish Sun on Sunday column, said: “Unless that backline stop taking a double-barrelled to their feet, Lennon is doomed.

“The boys at the top end of the pitch must be sick. Going two up against the Serie A leaders gave Celts plenty to hold on to. Instead, they lose one from a free-kick and go to pieces.

“It wouldn’t be fair to scapegoat Vasilis Barkas, but who scouted this guy? How many times was he watched in the flesh?

“Who decided he was good value at £5million? If Celts had spent a fraction of that money upgrading Craig Gordon’s contract they’d be in better nick.”

Provan, who won four titles at the Hoops and was one of Billy McNeill’s first buys for the club when he returned as manager in 1978, added: “At last winter’s AGM, both Lennon and Peter Lawwell were falling over themselves to praise recruitment chief Nick Hammond.

“Sorry, but I don’t see the evidence.”

Former centre-half Alan Stubbs made the same observation in CQN during the week and it all adds to the intrigue of the January transfer window which opens in 25 days’ time.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v St Johnstone this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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