JOHN HARTSON believes Celtic’s summer plan backfired with regards to Dedryck Boyata.

The Belgian defender downed tools in the summer after the club rejected a large bid from Fulham for the player’s services.

This was because Celtic were short on fit defenders and Brendan Rodgers told the board in no uncertain terms that he could not afford to lose him.

Hartson believes Celtic’s big plan would have been to play Boyata in the Champions League qualifiers, getting into the group stage of the Champions League and then selling him on the final day of the window.

As it transpired, the defender did not play in any of Celtic’s qualifiers – declaring himself unfit to compete and Celtic fell to an average Athens side and had to settle for Europa League football this season.

Since coming back into the fold, Boyata has been one of Celtic’s best players but the Belgian still doesn’t look like signing a new Celtic deal which is up in the summer.

Hartson believes Boyata would already be gone had Celtic got to the Champions League.

“I suspect that when Fulham came in with the £9m for him in the middle of August that Celtic banked on the player getting them through the qualifiers and a team coming in for him at the last minute with a bigger bid.” Hartson told the Evening Times.

“Neither transpired and, of course, no-one could really have predicted that Boyata would throw the toys out of the pram in the way that he did.”

As it stands Boyata can talk to any club in January about a move.


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