Celtic chairman Ian Bankier has thrown his weight behind Peter Lawwell amid calls from sections of the support for the chief executive to leave the club.

'Sack the board' were the demands from fans following their defeat to Ross County in the Betfred Cup and after the Hoops dropped points at home to St Johnstone in league action a week later. Lawwell has taken the brunt of complaints and had sections of the support urging him to depart.

Protests took place with banners and signs accusing Lawwell and the rest of the board of falling asleep at the wheel - something the club boss addressed himself and denied categorically.

Bankier, though - speaking at the club's AGM this afternoon - has given his full backing to Lawwell amid ongoing criticism and general unrest from the stands. "In terms of Peter Lawwell, I've been privileged to work with a lot of very successful people throughout my whole career and Peter Lawwell stands out for me," Mr Bankier said. "The way he stands out is he's a natural decision-taker.

"Now that's important when it comes to football because football is all about making the right decision at the right time and in terms of time, you never have any time to make decisions. Everything is moving fast, you need to get it right and you need to get it right now, on this day at this time. Peter has the exceptional ability to do that.

"That's why he's so important to us. Everything he does he does for Celtic and in the best interests of Celtic."

Bankier also provided more detailed financials from the last year and outlined that, while Covid-19 had hit the club hard, the Champions are still in a healthy position. And they hope to maintain their strong cashflow moving forward. "The result of [Covid-19] has hit our accounts this year, our income has dropped to £70million and our profits came clattering down," he went on. 

"But the important thing to point out is the strength of the balance sheet.

"We've got £144million of assets as of June 30 and £38million of net funds available to the business. With a strong balance sheet going into the future, which is still uncertain, at least you know you can afford certain things.

"That gives us optionality and a lot of comfort in terms of the outlook for the club and business at this time. None if that is an accident which is a result of our strategy for the last 10 years, which is live within our means, buy cleverly, sell cleverly and have flesh on our bones for events just like Covid which might come along."