Andy Walker says Celtic must be ready to rebuild

Sky Sports pundit Andy Walker reckon changes are required
Image: Sky Sports pundit Andy Walker reckon changes are required

Andy Walker believes that Celtic will go on to retain their Premiership title by a wide margin after their 4-0 defeat of closest challengers Aberdeen.

But if they want to go on and make an impression on the Champions League then they are going to have to brace themselves for some major rebuilding this summer, according to the Sky Sports pundit.

Celtic don't want to be recognised as a Europa League side, they want to get back into the Champions league and secure the prestige and financial rewards it brings.
Andy Walker

He told Sky Sports HQ: "Aberdeen started Sunday's game really well and I thought their gane plan was working up until half-time even though they were a goal down. But you have got to admire Celtic, they can get the breakthrough goal even when they are not playing at their best. In the second half from middle to front Celtic were excellent yesterday and in all honesty it could have been much more comfortable than the four goal margin it was in the end. 

"No, I don't think there is  still a title race - and in truth I don't think we really ever had one. Aberdeen have been very impressive, they had won 11 out of 13, and you have to give them plenty of credit for being so close at the beginning of March, but Celtic are motoring now and have strengthened during the January window. I imagine they will win on Wednesday (against St Johnstone) and move nine points clear. In fact I believe that Celtic will now go on to win the title by a comfortable double-digit margin."

Walker believes manager Ronny Deila must be budgeting for a summer of change at Parkhead - with a new centre-half pairing a distinct possibility.

'Debatable'

He said: "The big question now for Celtic is how well-equipped will they be to go into the Champions League qualifiers. I think the likelihood is that Virgil van Dijk will leave, I think he wants to go, Jason Denayer has said he wants to go back to Manchester City, and I think it's debatable as to whether Celtic want to keep John Guidetti. 

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"So I think you are going to see a number of changes, big changes because you have had a centre-half partnership that has been very impressive all season - and if Denayer and Van Dijk go then you are going to gave to get replacements in for the qualifiers which will start in July. The pressure will be on to get the new signings bedded in.

"They don't want to be recognised as a Europa League side, they want to get back into the Champions league and secure the prestige and the financial rewards that that would bring to allow them to be more competitive at the top level."  

John Hartson, who played for Celtic with distinction between 2001-06, was equally impressed with the performance of his old club at the weekend and believes they can go on to secure a domestic clean sweep. 

He told Sky Sports News HQ: "It was a big win for celtic they have found a different gear in the last couple of months the two new lads from Dundee United have given them a big lift.

"Ronny Deila came in for a lot of criticism from the media, the supporters and myself to be fair - but he has turned it round to his credit and they are playing great football right now.

"The domestic treble is a real possibility now. They have great attacking options and they are very solid defensively. They look unstoppable right now, they look unbeatable."  

Hartson, who scored 88 goals in 146 games during his period with the Hoops, was speaking at the launch of his John Hartson Foundation Golf Day at Mar Hall, Bishopton, near Glasgow, on Tuesday, April 21 

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