CELTIC’S £9.5million misfits Albian Ajeti and Vasilis Barkas will be given the opportunity to show their worth in the new season.
The Swiss striker, who arrived last summer in a £5million switch from West Ham, and the Greece international keeper, who cost £4.5million from AEK Athens, failed to impress in their debut seasons during a wretched campaign for the club.
Ajeti claimed a meagre six goals while Barkas’ ratio of saves-per-shots was shocking as he was axed by a frustrated Neil Lennon after the 2-2 draw with Livingston in West Lothian in January when the home side had two efforts on target and both found their way past the uninspiring netminder.
However, the big-money stars started the 3-1 closed-doors win over Sheffield Wednesday in Newport yesterday with the frontman being given the honour of captaining Ange Postecoglou’s first-ever line-up. He responded by netting the leveller after Barkas had been beaten in three minutes by Josh Windass.
LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BHOYS…Ange Postecoglou roars encouragement from the sideline.
The new Parkhead gaffer emphasised all of his players would be given the chance to show what they are capable of irrespective of how they have performed previously.
Postecoglou said: “I’m totally open minded about it. Everyone starts with a clean slate. Everyone’s got an opportunity to show what they can do.
“I think everyone will be disappointed with last year. The whole playing group and all the staff come back determined to make amends for what happened last year. Whatever did happen, the important thing is how you react this year, how you are training and what your attitude is like. I’ve got no complaints about any of the players
THE EQUALISER…Albian Ajeti whips in the first goal of Ange Postecoglou’s reign.
FALL GUY…£4.5million keeper Vasiis Barkas who failed to convince in his debut season.
“I don’t measure it in money spent or age or experience. To me, it’s just about their attitude and their ability to play the football I want. That’s the only measure I’m looking at.”
Reflecting on the impact of Covid, Postecoglou, speaking to the Glasgow Times, added: “It would have been a difficult season for a lot of the boys, probably more for the families.
“I felt it in Japan. We had foreigners there who were away from their families. It was a difficult year for everyone. When you’re coming into a new club you want them to get settled as quickly as they can off the field.
“I’m sure Barky and a few of the boys struggled a little bit, but that’s in the past now. Now it’s an opportunity for all of them to embrace what we’re doing. If they want to be part of what’s happening, they just have to show me with their performances in training and matches.”