By Wayne Veysey

15th Apr, 2019 | 11:20am

Sutton claims Boyata refused to play for Celtic

Chris Sutton has claimed Dedryck Boyata refused to play for Celtic this season during a season in which the club have been “pretty poor” compared to their previous two campaigns.

The former Hoops striker highlighted the Belgium international’s apparent unwillingness to don the green-and-white jersey as proof of how the treble chasers have been “flat as a pancake” this campaign.

“Let’s be brutally honest, Celtic have been pretty poor in comparison with their standards of the two previous campaigns,” Sutton told the Daily Record. “There has been upheaval with a manager change, in-fighting over transfer kitties and Dedryck Boyata’s apparent refusal to play.

“There was Moussa Dembele’s angry departure and injuries left, right and centre with key players such as Tom Rogic, Leigh Griffiths and Kieran Tierney have missed months of the season.”

Football Insider verdict:

Sutton isn’t explicit about which game or games Boyata would not play in. Is he referring to August’s Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens, when Brendan Rodgers said the centre-half’s absence made him “sad” and he wanted to trust “players who want to be here”? Or have there been subsequent matches when the defender has refused to don the famous jersey? Certainly, Boyata’s absence right now is legitimate. He has torn a hamstring and is not expected to play again this season. It is almost certain to mean the Belgian has played his final game for the club, given he is out of contract at the end of the season and has shown no interest in signing an extension. Losing such an accomplished defender for nothing is far from ideal, although the Belgian has at least knuckled down and demonstrated real commitment to the cause this season. He has been Celtic’s most consistent centre-back and deserves to be remembered with some fondness.

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