Celtic defender Mikael Lustig will fall down the pecking order at Parkhead if he stays at the club this summer, according to former Hoop Jackie McNamara.
The ex-Celtic and Scotland ace exclusively told Football Insider that after acting as a mainstay for the Bhoys for a number of years, including under Neil Lennon since his return to the club, the 75-cap Swedish international will have to settle for a lesser role should he stay past the summer.
The 32-year-old is out of contract at Parkhead at the end of the month but as exclusively revealed by Football Insider manager Lennon wants to hand him a new deal, overruling the plans of the Celtic board to let him leave.
However, McNamara says that a new deal will not see him remain as first choice as he urges the club to sign a replacement when the transfer window opens in Scotland.
“I think if he does (stay) it will be just as a squad player or a backup,” McNamara told Football Insider when asked what would happen if he stays.
“I don’t think he’ll be a starter in certain games. He has been reliable, Neil’s obviously relied on him over the last number of years but I think they’ll need a full back, even if they do re-sign Lustig. I still think they need another right back.
“It depends (on whether he would accept a diminished role). Obviously his age and stuff, what he thinks – only he’ll know that, what he thinks of himself. That will be the big thing for the boy himself, if he decides he wants to stay and be part of the squad.
Lustig has made 276 appearances and scored 21 goals for the Hoops during his career in Glasgow, with 44 of those outings coming during the 2018/19 season, with January loan signing Jeremy Toljan unable to usurp him from the starting XI.
In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that the Hoops have submitted a formal multi-million pound bid for a Premier League 26-year-old.