John Hartson bemoans missed opportunities for 3 Celtic squad members

By Dave Flanigan

September 22, 2022

Former Celtic striker John Hartson has bemoaned the Hoops’ fringe players inability to take the chance granted to them by Ange Postecoglou’s decision to heavily rotate his side for Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to St Mirren in Paisley

The Aussie made six changes to the side that drew with Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw last Wednesday, with the first choice centre half pairing of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt both missing through injury, and Hartson felt that the deputies were unable make much of an impression.

Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show, Hartson said: “When you think Celtic started with Maeda, Kyogo and Abada, that was Celtic’s first choice front three last season before Giakoumakis started to come in and do very well.

Photo by Mateusz Slodkowski/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

“So you could say that there were too many changes. Maybe one or two of the lads who did come in, they have to realise that when they get their chance, they’ve got to put something in Ange Postecoglou’s mind, ‘Can I now leave this lad out the next game?‘.

“You’ve got to make an impact, to do enough to give the manager something to think about and at the weekend, Ange is not thinking that way. He’s thinking these fringe players, the likes of Mooy, the likes of Ralston, the likes of Welsh, they may be thinking ‘I want to be playing more‘ but that was your opportunity.”

The former striker was keen to reinforce that he doesn’t believe it was for lack of application or attitude that Celtic’s squad players failed to stake a claim for their regular inclusion in Paisley, but that this will matter little to Postecoglou.

He continued: “The one thing Ange will be addressing is that when you get your chance – it’s a really tough team to get in to at Celtic – they’re full of quality. If you want to have a moan up, if you don’t want to train properly – I’m not saying anyone isn’t or that anyone is sulking – if you want to play in this team you have to be ready when called upon. At the weekend, there was three or four there that were not quite up to it.”

The St Mirren defeat was Celtic’s first in the league in a day short of a full year, an unbeaten run stretching 38 games since the last league defeat to Livingston in September 2021 at the Toni Macaroni stadium.

Despite the disappointment in Paisley, Celtic will return to a packed schedule following the international break, with plenty scope for using the squad and allowing the fringe players further opportunities, with two games a week scheduled right up until the World Cup.

In other news: Celtic star Kyogo reflects on what he learned playing alongside World Cup winner