FORMER Celtic goal hero Chris Sutton has branded his old club’s decision to allow Alexandro Bernabei to leave on loan as “madness”.

The Argentinian defender completed a temporary transfer to Brazilian top-flight club SC Nacional until the end of the year, as CQN reported yesterday.

Bernabei’s exit leaves the champions without cover for Greg Taylor as the campaign reaches a crucial stage with the Hoops trailing two points in the pursuit of their twelfth title in 13 years with only nine games still to play.

And the holders return to Scottish Cup duty tomorrow afternoon when they take on Livingston at Parkhead in their quarter-final while they target the iconic date of May 25 and the silverware showpiece at Hampden to bring down the curtain on a topsy-turvy crusade.

ON THE MOVE…Alexandro Bernabei will spend the rest of the year in Brazil.

In the midst of pressure mounting, the club have still allowed the £3.75million defender to move which could have severe consequences as the finishing line comes into view.

Sutton asked: “Why the heck have Celtic allowed Alexandro Bernabei to leave? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

“Listen, the Argentine is no world beater. But he’s a left-back. And it might have gone unnoticed at Celtic Park, but that is a problem position for them.

“They only have Greg Taylor now and, while he’s been a consistent performer, he’s had some injury problems – and no wonder after being flogged for about three years.

“Celtic are now in a title run-in with no cover. It’s madness.

“If Taylor gets injured or suspended, it’ll mean Anthony Ralston – a right-back – would need to play or Liam Scales would need to move across, meaning one of the two centre-backs who have not been deemed good enough all season coming in.

“God help them if Cameron Carter-Vickers pulls up again.”

TWO VERSUS ONE…Celtic teenager Daniel Kelly tussles for possession with Hearts duo Lawrence Shankland and Cammy Devlin.

One-time England international striker Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I get Liel Abada’s departure. It’s unfortunate and a hugely disappointing turn of events that have cost Celtic one of their most effective players.

“But allowing Bernabei to go after the abject failure of bringing in a replacement in January just makes no sense whatsoever.

“It’s a common theme this season. At Tynecastle on Sunday, Celtic were up against it, down to 10 men and needing to find a way back. Rodgers sent on youngster Daniel Kelly. No harm to the lad, as he could be the future of the club. But that was no environment for an 18-year-old.

“Perhaps it was another message to the board – especially when £2millon midfielder Odin Thiago Holm was left on the bench – but surely we are beyond that stage now?

“What got me was the fact David Turnbull wasn’t there. This is a player who was keeping Reo Hatate out of the team at the start of the season, but was then bombed out completely.

“Again, I’m not saying he’s world class, but he can affect a game when you are looking for a goal. But no, gone in January with no replacement signed. It’s just bizarre.”

Sutton added: “You could say Nicolas Kuhn came in for Abada, but he’s another one who can’t get a game at the moment.

“And it makes it all the more galling for Celtic fans to see Mikey Johnston scoring stunners every week for West Brom, especially after they practically hounded him out.

“I’m not saying Johnston is the answer, but he’s another one who got a lot of game time in the first half of the season and is then shipped out as surplus to requirements.

“There was talk of a Yang loan deal not so long ago, but a couple of good games and it’s like Lionel Messi is going to be out through suspension.

“It just seems like Celtic have brought so much on themselves this season with so much confusion.”

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