FORMER Rangers striker Kris Boyd claims Celtic have shunned goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
The 37-year-old former Scotland international No.1 is a free agent after his contract expired at the start of the month.
The Hoops have offered Gordon a new deal on reduced terms which has been knocked back by the 54 times-capped shotstopper.
St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin is attempting to lure the former £9million netminder to Paisley, but the player, who has spent the last six years at the nine-in-a-row champions, is in no rush to make a move.
Boyd, speaking to the Scottish Sun, reckons the goalie has been let down by the Parkhead hierarchy and said: “Craig Gordon has shown Celtic loyalty down the years.
SILVER SMILES…Craig Gordon with skipper Scott Brown after a Scottish Cup Final triumph.
“But he’s now getting none back in return.
“He could have left the club and signed a huge, mega-money contract with Chelsea just a few years ago.
“But Craig chose to stay and let his heart rule his head. Yet here he is, out of contract and almost out on his ear.
“After six unbelievably successful years, he’s been offered a new deal on vastly reduced wages.
“From experience, I’d say it’s the type of offer Celtic know he’s going to turn down. Neil Lennon doesn’t seem to rate him, does he? Not really.
“Let’s get it right, he signed Fraser Forster who was sensational last season.
CAP STAR…Craig Gordon on international duty for Scotland.
“But if he really trusted Craig, then he wouldn’t have gone to the board and asked for major money to get the ex-England keeper on loan from Southampton.
“Now Lenny wants Forster back to be his No 1 for next season’s 10-in-a-row campaign – but those talks could last for weeks yet and even then it’s far from certain they’ll get things over the line.
“In the meantime, Celtic need to make it look like they’re doing everything in their power to keep Craig by offering a new contract. So when he rejects it he’s the one painted as the villain.
“I’ve seen it before and I’ll see it again. What I will say is Celtic should be careful what they wish for.
The Big Man has been over the course and distance as a Celtic goalkeeper for a long time now and knows exactly what it takes to play for that football club. He’s got the focus and mentality to handle the big occasion and that’s not always a given when it comes to the Old Firm.
“Top-class goalkeepers don’t grow on trees.
“With this huge season just around the corner it amazes me they aren’t going all out to get Craig to sign a new contract, even as back-up for Forster.”
CHEERS…Craig Gordon applauds the Celtic fans.
Boyd added: “Maybe leaving Celtic now is the best thing for Craig, anyway.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t envy him given the position he’s in. I don’t know what’s best for him to do in this situation.
“It’s one thing to say Celtic should be offering him a bigger and better contract because he deserves one.
“But the fact is, the one on the table will still be more money than he can get anywhere in Scotland. And, even though he has made good money in his career, it is still something for him to think about, in the cold light of day.
“He could decide he is better moving on and playing regular football, which could end up being the case. He’s too good to sit on a bench, if you ask me.
“But equally, Celtic could be on the verge of history in the coming season and that’s a lot to walk away from, even if he’s potentially just going to end up being part of the squad.
“And, again, if he leaves he could end up kicking himself if Forster did end up injured. It’s a tough one, it really is.”
At the moment, Celtic only have one signed keeper in Scott Bain who rarely featured last season after sustaining a broken hand in the 4-3 Champions League exit against Cluj at Parkhead in August.
Forster’s loan deal runs out at the end of this month when he is due to return to Southampton.