Frank McAvennie has claimed Peter Lawwell is pulling the strings behind the Celtic summer exodus.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the Hoops legend and well-connected former Bhoy explained how the long-standing chief executive would have been the driving force for some big-name exits.

Defender Jozo Simunovic and the versatile Jonny Hayes were released after five and three years respectively at the end of last month.

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon may also be severing his ties with Parkhead although Celtic have offered him a contract extension on reduced terms after his previous deal expired.

McAvennie is in no doubt that Lawwell is spearheading the spate of departures behind the scenes as he lamented the loss of Hayes in particular.

“I felt sorry for Jonny because when they liked him, he was Lenny’s go to man,” McAvennie told Football Insider.

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“He never let them down. Every time he played he never let them down. He was never going to get a game every week, he was a bit-part player.

“Peter has obviously had a word with Lenny and told him to get rid of his bit bit-part players and that would have hurt Lenny. But you need to make big decisions like that.

“I know that he liked Jonny as a person and a player. That is because he never let the team or the fans down.”

Simunovic and Hayes have both gone public to reveal they wanted to stay at Celtic and were devastated to be let go.

Gordon explained last week he has a contract on the table from St Mirren and will only stay at Parkhead if they offer improved terms.

In other Celtic news, it can be revealed that the club have suffered a “massive loss” after “best 18 month spell of my career”.