Former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas has taken a swipe at Hearts midfielder Andy Halliday after his woeful performance against the Hoops at the weekend.
His Jambos side were thumped 3-0 by the visitors in a strong performance of superiority. The team who have been consistently third best in the league couldn’t get anywhere near Ange Postecoglou’s men.
Nicholas picked Halliday out as a player who was going about the pitch trying to boot Celtic players off the park.
Much has been said about Postecoglou’s side lacking some steel but Nicholas reckons that the Hoops boss has made his squad tougher as well as technically better which is why they could handle the challenge in front of them in a toxic atmosphere at Tynecastle.
He believes that Saturday’s performance from the 31-year-old midfielder made him look ‘second-rate’ – much like his performances in previous derby games.
“It’s remarkable how tough he (Postecoglou) has made this team, both physically and mentally. There’s no question they are up for a battle,” said Nicholas speaking in his column in the [Daily Express].
“Take last weekend’s Scottish Cup quarter-final win at Hearts. Andy Halliday was going around trying to kick Celtic’s players and just looked second-rate – like he always did in Old Firm derbies when he played for a second-rate Rangers team.
“The Hoops players were looking at Halliday as if to say, ‘Is that your best shot?’
“They are mentally superior. And even if opponents resort to kicking them, Postecoglou’s players will just keep playing their own game and strike when the time is right.”
One player who has made a bit of a difference when it comes to that tough attitude is fullback Alistair Johnston who arrived in January from CF Montreal.
He’s not scared of a battle and stated that he will always get involved at any moment when some of his teammates are being targeted.
Johnston should have had a penalty at the weekend when he skipped away from Halliday but referee Kevin Clancy didn’t even check the incident.