Tony Watt demoted to Lierse ‘B team’

TONY Watt’s turbulent loan spell at Lierse took another turn today as the club demoted the on-loan Celtic striker from its first-team squad for an ‘indefinite period’.
Tony Watt in action for Lierse. Picture: PATony Watt in action for Lierse. Picture: PA
Tony Watt in action for Lierse. Picture: PA

The club took a dim view of the 19-year-old striker’s comments about coach Stanley Menzo, relegating Watt to the B team with immediate effect.

Watt had suggested in an interview that Menzo had made him a scapegoat, adding: “They don’t know how to deal with me at Lierse. Whenever we lose I get the blame, and they always say I do things wrong.

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“Menzo has two sets of rules. But you can’t have different rules for different players. He clearly doesn’t like me.”

Lierse published an article on its website this afternoon, stating that the club was ‘100 per cent behind coach Stanley Menzo’ and criticising Watt for failing to follow the club’s guidelines on media interviews.

The statement added that the club disagreed with the comments made by the former Airdrie striker and that he would be demoted to the B team ‘for an indefinite period’.

It is not the first time Watt and Menzo have clashed - the former Ajax defender branded the Celtic forward ‘lazy and unfit’ despite a goal on his debut, adding: “I think he has talent. But he has to do more with that talent.

“I see him as the type who thinks by doing a little bit he can get a lot. I think that is wrong. I told him by doing more he can be a much better player.”

And Watt responded to Menzo’s claims by whipping his shirt off after scoring in the club’s next match - a cup match against Lommel United - in order to prove he was ‘in prime condition’.

Less than a month later, Watt was omitted from the Scotland Under-21 squad amid concerns over his fitness.

The 19-year-old has also been sent home from training twice, once following a row over Menzo’s plans to play Watt on the wing and again in November after ‘refusing to comply with instructions’.

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Despite what has been an eventful loan spell, Watt has been in good form for the Belgian side, who currently lie 11th in the Jupiler Pro League.

The striker has scored nine goals in 17 games for Lierse, including a 20-yard effort in a surprise 2-0 win over former champions Anderlecht.

Tony Watt at Lierse

August 31, 2013 - Signs for Lierse on a 12-month loan deal

September 22 - Comes off the bench against Kortrijk and scores on his debut in a 2-0 win

September 23 - Branded ‘lazy and unfit’ by manager Stanley Menzo

September 26 - Booked after taking his shirt off as a goal celebration to prove he wasn’t fat

October - Omitted from Scotland Under-21 squad amid concerns over his fitness; told to go home from training after a row with Menzo over plans to use Watt as a winger

November 2 - Sent off just 40 seconds after coming on as a sub against Charleroi

November 13 - Sent home from training for a second time after ‘refusing to follow Menzo’s instructions’

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December 27 - Neil Lennon confirms he won’t recall Watt from his loan spell

January 10 2014 - Scores twice in a friendly match against Dutch side Heerenveen

January 25 - Grabs a brace in a 3-2 win over Kortrijk

January 31 - Nets a 20-yard screamer as Lierse record a surprise 2-0 win over Anderlecht

February 12 - Declares loves for Lierse and Belgium after scoring seven goals in five games

March 11 - Claims Menzo doesn’t like him; hits out at his treatment.