Alan Hutton has blasted Norway manager Stale Solbakken for urging Kristoffer Ajer to quit Celtic this summer.
The former Rangers star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 53-year-old had disrespected Scottish football with his comments.
As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Norway boss Solbakken insisted the 6ft 4in defender “must” move to a top-five division at the end of the season to properly challenge himself.
He suggested the Hoops star, 22, had picked up some bad habits from not being properly tested in the Premiership.
Ajer has been a mainstay for Celtic this term and has 40 appearances under his belt so far.
However, the defender’s future is up in the air with his contract set to expire next summer.
As revealed by Football Insider back in August, Ajer was among several Celtic players who were looking to leave last summer.
Hutton suggested the centre-back would still have his sights set on a move but insisted Solbakken did not need to disrespect Scottish football like he did.
Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “It’s frustrating when you hear an international manager saying things like that. How can you down the whole of Scottish football?
“To say that what? One player is better than the whole of Scottish football and he’s bigger than that? I think that’s very unfair for somebody to say that kind of thing.
“I think it’s always been on the cards and we’ve always mentioned about Ajer moving on. There’s been interest from top teams, the likes of AC Milan.
“Do I think he wants to move in his own head? Yes. I think he’ll want to go somewhere else, a top club. It’s no disrespect to Celtic but I think he probably will.
“When you’re going through a rebuilding process, first and foremost you need players that want to be there. Players who want to help the club move forward and if he doesn’t want to be there, it’s time to move on.
“It’s time for Celtic to cash in. They will make money on him, he is a decent player. If that’s the case, maybe his time is up.”