John Hartson insists Celtic got their recruitment all wrong this summer.
The club spent upwards of £13million on players including Vasilis Barkas, Albian Ajeti and David Turnbull as well as loan deals for Shane Duffy and Diego Laxalt who have both failed, thus far, to shine on the Parkhead stage.
Celts find themselves a staggering 20 points behind Rangers in the title race, a race already run, according to Hartson who says Gers have the silverware all but mathematically sewn up.
The popular former Celtic striker blames poor recruitment and dreadful decision making in equal part for his ex-employers’ capitulation in the hunt for 10 in a row. And he questioned why the club did not sign proven goal scorer Ivan Toney who was available at Peterborough.
“This time last year when the league was called I said Celtic were a 1/500 shot to win the league, never mind what Rangers did,” he told TEN10 podcasts. “We were so, so confident. We’d kept Edouard. There was an issue with Leigh Griffiths, but [Patryk] Klimala was there, Ajeti was there.
“Get Leigh fit, I know there was an issue, but get him up to speed, that might take a month. But it’s just been so disappointing. The players just haven’t been at it and I don’t think the recruitment has been great. You can go through the players and name them one by one, asking if they’re good enough.
“I think Ajeti played four games for West Ham in 16 months and we paid £5million for him. What happened to the boy Toney at Brentford? He’s on 15 goals in 15 games, so I don’t know why we didn’t get him. At least we’d get someone who is proven already.
“Barkas, the keeper, has been dropped already for Conor Hazard. You could talk about the staff. What does Gavin Strachan do? What does John Kennedy do? Are they helping Neil?
“Does Neil not need to bring in his own person, someone he relies on and someone he wants to work with?
“Or are the board deciding who he works with? We don’t know half of these things. It has just been so frustrating.
“It’s very disappointing to see how this season has fizzled out, really.”