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EX-CELTIC HERO HAMMERS ‘LAZY’ HOOPS

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CHARLIE NICHOLAS has launched an astonishing attack on Celtic and accused the players of being “lazy” as they flopped out of the Europa League.

The former Hoops favourite watched his old side crash 3-1 to FC Copenhagen at Parkhead on Thursday night to miss out on a last-16 place on a disappointing 4-2 aggregate.

Neil Lennon’s side blew their opportunity as they presented the Danes with three goals in a horrendous second-half – the only three shots the visitors had on target throughout the evening.

Nicholas was totally unimpressed and, speaking on Sky Sports News, said: “It is massively disappointing.

“A lot of people look at the Celtic scenario and ask why they are so blinkered on the domestic title. It is bragging rights in Glasgow and in Scotland.

“When I was a kid, the difference with the nine in a row was that Celtic won the European Cup in 1966/67 alongside this. Rangers won the Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1971/72. The standards were unbelievable and both sides were dragging one another along.

“Rangers surprised me with a fantastic result (in Portugal), just like their win over Celtic in December – they have been poor in between.

DELIGHT…Scott Brown congratulates Odsonne Edouard after his penalty-kick equaliser.

DESPAIR…Scott Brown and James Forrest bow their heads in defeat at the end.

“Celtic are cruising the domestic set-up and it seemed they thought they had done the job against Copenhagen, who were average.

“I picked out three players of prominence and Celtic, especially when they got to 1-1, became slack and lazy, leaving themselves exposed.

“They would not win the competition. That is because they play well for 45 minutes and switch off for the second-half.

“At this level, you get picked off – and easily picked off in the end – by an average Copenhagen side who could not believe their luck.

“I expected them to get through and they let me down.

“Celtic are tremendous domestically, as well as being mentally tough. They manipulate the results and get over the line. It is so typical of them in Europe.

“Did they expect the crowd to get them there? They forgot the basic principles of defending.

“What a golden opportunity that they missed, to see where the draw could have taken them.”

Nicholas had that Steven Gerrard’s side would be sent packing by Braga in Portugal, as reported in Scotzine. However, a second-half goal from Ryan Kent gave them a 4-2 aggregate advantage to book a place against Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen next month.

The ex-Scotland international also stated it would be “comfortable” for the Hoops, as this site reported, against the Danes after the 1-1 draw in Copenhagen the previous week.

It didn’t turn out that way, as Lennon’s men committed soccer suicide with some woefully inept defending.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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