Date: 15th August 2019 at 6:00pm
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EXCLUSIVE

Jackie McNamara has torn into Celtic defensive duo Jozo Simunovic and Kristoffer Ajer for their poor game management in their Champions League qualifying defeat to CFR Cluj.

The former Hoops and Scotland star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, was highly critical of the centre back pair for playing too open at the back and giving the Romanian side a chance to score the four goals they did in the 4-3 thriller at Parkhead.

Celtic went into the tie knowing that a 0-0 would see them through to the next round, having grabbed an away goal in a 1-1 first-leg draw.

However, McNamara saw the visitors capitalise on a number of mistakes made by his old side and he was highly critical of the defence’s inability to manage the match.

Asked about the pair’s performance at the heart of the defence, McNamara told Football Insider: “I think they were very open, it’s just the game management and understanding the game. 

“They’re not young kids anymore. You have to understand the game and how it’s going. As it stands, you’re winning, if it finished 0-0 on the night, Celtic are through.

“It’s not as if it was a surprise about their counter-attacking football on the night.”

The Hoops’ defeat means they have missed out on Champions League football for a second successive season and will have to undertake a final qualifying tie to try and make it to the Europa League group stages.

They currently top the Premiership table after two wins in two games, with Lennon’s men ahead of Rangers courtesy of their fantastic goal difference.

In other Celtic news, McNamara has told Football Insider that Lennon has lost trust in one of his senior stars.