JOHN HARTSON believes Celtic wasted millions of pounds in the transfer market in the summer – and the flop arrivals ultimately cost Neil Lennon his job.
The former Hoops striker also admits he is baffled as to how his old club missed out on signing prolific hitman Ivan Toney from Peterborough who, instead, moved to Championship outfit Brentford.
Hartson has watched a procession of duds arrive at Parkhead and there is no doubt players such as Vasilis Barkas, Albian Ajeti and Shane Duffy have been huge disappointments.
The Welsh international hero, who scored over 100 goals in his five years at Parkhead, said: “It’s all gone desperately wrong. It’s a pivotal moment and Neil shouldn’t be held accountable for all of the things that have gone wrong.
“You have to look at the recruitment – was paying £5million for Barkas, a goalkeeper who isn’t even in the team and hasn’t made a decent save all season, a good piece of business for Celtic?
“They could have got Ivan Toney for another £500,000, I don’t know why they didn’t go and get him.
“They need to get it right because Celtic have been so successful in the past 10 years and this was a massive year for them and the supporters. This was the Holy Grail for them, if they could get 10.
“And it’s not been acceptable the way the team has dropped so low.
“I was telling people Celtic would win 12, 13, 14 titles in a row, that’s how dominant they were. Rangers have had a good season, they’ve capitalised on Celtic’s poor performances and are doing very well in Europe. They will certainly win the league now.”
Hartson, who called for a clear-out at the Hoops, as CQN reported last month, also feels the identity of Lennon’s successor is absolutely crucial.
The top media pundit, speaking to Sky Sports News, added: “They need to get the next appointment right. I’ve heard Eddie Howe mentioned, Steve Clarke, the national manager, is an obvious one and he’s a Celtic fan, sometimes they go for someone who has an affinity with the football club.
“Mark Hughes is out of a job. It’s a massive job, it’s a global football club with incredible support and Neil should be respected because he’s done very well in terms of his playing and managerial career there, but it was the right time.”