FORMER Rangers defender Gareth McAuley has taken a swipe at Celtic's recent title triumph saying it will always be "tainted and hollow".

The Hoops were last week awarded the the Scottish Premiership trophy after league bosses curtailed the 2019/20 season early due to the coronavirus crisis.

And despite Neil Lennon hailing Celtic's ninth league title in a row as the best under his management, ex-Northern Irish international McAuley believes Lenny's talk was all for show and he reckons the Celts are hurting deep down.

Speaking in the Sunday Life newspaper, McAuley said: “This triumph will always be tainted and hollow. They didn’t win the title on the pitch, they were handed it.

“I actually feel sorry for the Celtic players now.

“They have officially been crowned SPFL champions, but all their hard work, dedication and gutsy performances when they ground out results will be forgotten.

“In the record books there will always be an asterisk beside this season’s championship.

“I know Neil Lennon was on TV recently saying this title win was the greatest one under his management.

“But that was all for show and to wind up the Rangers fans watching at home.

“Deep down it will rankle him that his team weren’t able to secure the title on the pitch.

“Of course, it wasn’t their fault, the Covid-19 pandemic sadly intervened and football was cancelled.

“But as a result, history will not look too kindly on this Celtic nine in a row team and that will hurt the current crop of players.”