Alex McLeish has defended the likes of Scott Brown and insisted it is the new signings who have disrupted the Celtic dressing room this season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Rangers and Scotland boss insisted he had seen nothing from the 35-year-old “legend” to suggest he was to blame for the Hoops’ poor run of form.
The Parkhead veteran has been a mainstay for Neil Lennon this season and made it 18 starts from 21 appearances in Thursday’s Europa League clash against Sparta Prague.
The Bhoys have struggled for form since the 2-0 defeat to Rangers in October and have slipped to 11 points behind their Glasgow rivals in the hunt for the Premiership title, although they do have two games in hand.
Lennon questioned the “hunger” of his players after their 2-2 draw against Hibernian on Saturday, while he has previously said a culture change was needed at Parkhead.
However, McLeish has lauded Brown for his performances in the middle of the park and suggested it was new signings struggling to gel, rather than the experienced players, which was causing the problem.
McLeish told Football Insider: “Neil knows better than anybody, he’s the gaffer who sees them every single day on the training ground.
“Listen, we know that as a player you can’t go on forever and there comes a time when you have to say, well, it’s time for me to step down or something – I’m not talking about Neil Lennon – but at the moment I can’t see any lack of ability or lack of legs in guys like Scott Brown.
“They’re still there and sometimes that kind of legend of Celtic will step down but not yet. I think a lot of them will be smouldering about the recent results but for me, there’s been a lot of new players and it’s about those guys gelling.
“There has been just a little bit of momentum disrupted because of those guys, I think, gelling together. Rangers have been in a process of two or three years and now you see the rhythm that they have just now, as opposed to Celtic trying to find a new rhythm with new players.”
In other Celtic news, Frank McAvennie has ripped into a Hoops star letting the side down.