LISBON Lion Bertie Auld insists Dedryck Boyata’s antics are a complete embarrassment for Celtic.
And the Hoops legend reckons his team-mates must be sickened by the behaviour of the Belgian international defender.
Auld, a sprightly 80-year-old, raged: “If I was the manager, would I play Boyata again? No chance. Never!
“In fact, I wouldn’t even let him train with the squad at Lennoxtown. I would have him escorted to Glasgow Green every day to train on his own on the public parks.
“The way he has treated Brendan Rodgers, his colleagues and everyone at Celtic and the supporters has been an absolute disgrace, totally unacceptable.
“The player claims he is unfit and couldn’t have played against AEK in Athens. The manager says he is fit. Who do you believe?
“Boyata’s agent has already mouthed off and made threatening noises about his client downing tools and being disappointed after a £9million bid from Fulham had been knocked back.
“He has also claimed Celtic have broken promises to his player. Where does it say anywhere Celtic have to accept a bid for a player who is still under contract?
“Where does it say they even have to talk to a club who want to make an offer for one of their players?
“What a load of rubbish. Goodness knows how my old boss Jock Stein would have dealt with this situation.
“Listen, I know times have changed and players have representatives coming out of the woodwork. But there are ways and means of dealing with things and this has been a complete embarrassment for the club.
“Big Jock wouldn’t have let an agent anywhere near Parkhead. He wouldn’t have given them the time of day.”
Auld pondered the impact Boyata’s non-appearance may have had on the team against the Greeks.
He said: “Obviously, the players will not come out and criticise one of their own in public. That’s not the done thing.
“However, I would be hugely surprised if they are not sickened by their colleague.
“Tuesday night was an evening for the Celtic players to stand tall, shoulder to shoulder and get a good result for the club in such an important game.
“While they tried their best to turn the tie around, their team-mate was sitting at home. I wonder if he even bothered to watch the game on TV.
“I wouldn’t want to share a dressing room with a guy like that. He’s not the sort of bloke you want beside you when the going gets tough, that’s for sure.
“There can be disagreements between players away from the public gaze. But this is premeditated and that is entirely different.
“It’s a disgusting way to treat a club that has been good to him and a manager in Brendan Rodgers who has worked hard to get him to where he is.
“Do you think he would have been at the World Cup Finals with Belgium if it hadn’t been for the efforts of the Celtic manager?
“He wouldn’t have been anywhere near Russia, but he appears to have forgotten that little detail.
“I know Brendan worked hard with him. He brought him back into the team for a Scottish Cup-tie against Albion Rovers after the winter break a couple of Januarys ago.
“A lot of people had forgotten Boyata was still at the club. But Brendan had been impressed by his attitude during the break in Dubai and went out of his way to encourage him to better himself.
“In a lot of eyes, the Celtic boss was taking a chance in bringing him back into the first team. Let;s face it, he hadn’t been anything special under Ronny Deila, who bought him in the first place from Manchester City.
“So, Brendan took a wee chance and this is how Boyata repays him. I think it’s reprehensible.
“Obviously, I wouldn’t even attempt to offer the manager any advice on how to deal with the situation.
“However, as the former gaffer at Partick Thistle and Hibs, I can tell you I wouldn’t have him anywhere near the first team.
“He would be either training with the youths or on his own down at Glasgow Green.
“No-one is bigger than Celtic Football Club. Dedryck Boyata – and his agent – will find that out in the coming days and weeks.”
TOMORROW: PART TWO: Don’t miss Bertie’s take on the John McGinn transfer saga – and how he would have done things so differently – only in your champion CQN!