AARON MOOY’S first Premiership start for Celtic was cut short after 45 minutes in the 2-0 loss to St Mirren in Paisley at the weekend.
The Australian midfielder, who was recruited on a two-year contract by his former international boss Ange Postecoglou in the summer, toiled to make an impression against his former club.
Mooy’s struggles were highlighted just before the interval when he failed to match the run of Mark O’Hara as the Saints player was allowed to race from the middle of the park to take up a position at the back post to head in a right-wing cross from Ryan Strain for the opening goal.
UNLUCKY 13…Aaron Mooy looks on as Matt O’Hara’s header arrows beyond the stranded Joe Hart for St Mirren’s opening goal in Paisley.
It was no surprise the 32-year-old anchorman was missing as the team lined up for the restart with Reo Hatate in his place.
David Turnbull, making a rare top-side start, lasted until three minutes off the hour mark before he was hooked as Postecoglou changed the shape of his stuttering formation with Giorgos Giakoumakis going up front to join Kyogo Furuhashi.
Former Hoops goal hero Charlie Nicholas was one onlooker who was not impressed by either the Aussie or the Scotland international who will hope to get a run against Ukraine in the UEFA Nations League encounter at Hampden ths evening.
The one-time fans’ favourite insisted Mooy “looked off the pace” as the champions’ 38-game unbeaten sequence in the league came to an end one day short of a year from their last loss, a 1-0 setback in Livingston.
UP AND AWAY…David Turnbull skips past a slide tackle from Saints centre-back Declan Gallagher.
And Turnbull “didn’t contribute” in the manner anticipated of a player given the opportunity to show the manager his abilities.
Nicholas said: “The Hoops were way below their normal standards.
“Ange Postecoglou made the wrong changes and admitted as much after the game.
“The players who came into the starting line-up didn’t deliver, David Turnbull, in particular. He didn’t contribute the way he has to.
“Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate are the guys ahead of him in the pecking order, so when Turnbull gets his chance he has to take it – and he didn’t do that in Paisley.”
ON THE RUN…Reo Hatate takes over from Aaron Mooy in the Paisley setback.
Nicholas, writing in hs Daily Express column, added: “I also feel that every time Aaron Mooy has come into the side he looks a yard off the pace.
“He needs more minutes and a run of matches, but I’m not sure he’s going to get them.
“For the first time this season there is a question mark over this Celtic team and Ange will need to address it.”
Turnbull and Mooy are now on international duty before the Hoops’ next Premiership confrontation against Motherwell at Parkhead a week on Saturday.