Celtic's senior stars were 'absolute pr*cks', says ex-striker Beattie

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The former West Brom and Swansea journeyman says that he feels the 'make-or-break' environment at the Scottish club was a culture shock for too many

Former Celtic striker Craig Beattie has disclosed that several of his senior team-mates were 'absolute pr*cks' during his formative years at the club - but that he believes the tough-love approach helped make him as a player.

The one-time Scotland international, who swapped to the Hoops from cross-city rivals Rangers as a boy during his youth days, spent the first four years of his career at Celtic Park following his debut in 2003.

Though he would embark on a journeyman career following his exit in 2007, with spells at West Brom and Swansea City among others, he remains best known for his contributions with the Bhoys, where he helped them to two domestic doubles.

Speaking to Open Goal, however, the 35-year-old - who most recently played for Elgin City in Scottish League Two - has revealed that his step-up to the first-team squad saw an effective hazing period from big-name team-mates, singling out current Celtic manager Neil Lennon alongside Chris Sutton and Alan Thompson.

Admitting that several prospects couldn't handle the intensity under manager Martin O'Neill, Beattie further added that despite the difficulty, he feels that the 'harsh' approach effectiely made him into the forward he would become.

"It didn't bother me, but it was make or break," he stated. "Lads ask me about it now and say 'what's Lenny [Lennon] like? What's Thommo [Thompson] like? What's Sutty [Sutton] like?'

"And now I would say: 'Absolutely spot on'. They'll never pass you at events, charity do's, [they're] absolutely brilliant.

"But back then? Absolute p***ks.

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"You could be on that training ground - and we only trained for half an hour, three 10 minute games - and be the best player on the park for 29 minutes. But you could give the ball away once and get absolutely berated. Literally, strips torn off you.

"For me that was all part of the character building, you had to stand up to that. If you're up against that every day it stands you in good stead for matches."

Celtic have made an unbeaten start to the new Scottish Premiership season, though defeat to Romanian outfit CRJ Cluj means that they are seeking entry to the Europa League now following their missed shot at reaching the Champions League.

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