FORMER Celtic captain Andy Lynch has accused many of the Parkhead club’s players of not caring during their humiliating 4-1 defeat to Rangers – and urged the Glasgow giants’ hierarchy to radically rethink their transfer strategy this summer.

Lynch, who won the Scottish title three times and the Scottish Cup twice during the seven years that he spent at his boyhood heroes in the 1970s, felt many members of of the visiting team at Ibrox on Sunday lacked fight.

John Kennedy’s team slumped to their heaviest defeat to their city rivals in 14 years in the Premiership encounter after having Callum McGregor red carded for a second bookable offence during the first-half.

The Premiership match was meaningless as Steven Gerrard’s men clinched their first top flight win since 2011 last month.

However, for Lynch the meek capitulation showed that Celtic’s recruitment policy needs to be overhauled, particularly their reliance on loan players, if they are to challenge Rangers for the league during the 2021/22 campaign. 

He would like to see whoever replaces Neil Lennon as manager on a permanent basis this summer promote youngsters who have an emotional attachment to the former European champions to his first team. 

“It has changed from when I played,” he said. “As I watched the game on Sunday I thought: ‘These players are no’ hurting’. Some of them were going through the motions.

“When McGregor got sent off I knew they had no chance of winning. There was no way they would be able to come back against a stronger Rangers side and that is how it panned out.

“If a player today gets one big move they instantly become a multi-millionaire. They are made for life. But when that happens they aren’t going to worry if they get dropped, if they aren’t getting selected or if they lose.”

Mohamed Elyounoussi (Southampton) and Jonjoe Kenny (Everton) both started for Celtic against Rangers at Ibrox while Diego Laxalt (AC Milan) was on the bench. Elsewhere, Shaun Duffy (Brighton) is in the squad.

Bringing in players on loan allows the Parkhead club to acquire players who they would otherwise be unable to afford. But Lynch has questioned the wisdom of having so many of them in the squad. He is eager to see more youngsters get their chance going forward and feels the team will benefit if they do. 

“They need to get in the best recruitment people possible who can purchase players who want to play for Celtic and who are committed for a definite amount of time,” he said. “I don’t think loans works. You need commitment from players.

“There are quite a lot of players in the first team pool just now who are only there on loan. They aren’t signed permanently. That’s not commitment. It’s a bit convoluted for me.”

Lynch continued: “The way for them to go is to play the best young players who have come through the youth ranks at Lennoxtown, the likes of Ewan Henderson, Mikey Johnston, Stephen Welsh. But you need a good coach to coach them right, bring them through and encourage them. That is a huge job.

“Rangers are bringing some young players through just now. Steven Gerrard is giving some young players the chance to show him what they have got. And they aren’t letting him down. Celtic should do the same.

“It gives everyone at the club a lift when that happens. If you ask the fans they will all tell you that they want to see boys who have been at the club for years and know the history of the club and understand how much success matters. It is important.”