Sometimes you need to hear things from your closest friends. Sometimes those friends have to spell out the reality, the truth.
The last six weeks have been horrendous for Celtic with Lennon in the firing line for a disastrous run of results. No-one expects Celtic to win the Europa League or even win their group but with two matches still to play they are out.
An 8-2 aggregate against a Sparta Prague team that is struggling domestically, can’t be defended or excused. In Sparta’s other Europa League matches they have a goal difference of 1-7.
At this stage Lennon can get out of Celtic with an almost unblemished record of delivering all four domestic trophies. A pay-off with let him leave without further damage to his reputation with responsibility for a nightmare season handed to Chief Executive Peter Lawwell.
Listening in to Sutton on BT Sport last night, The Sun reports the former striker saying:
If I’m honest I thought that Sparta Prague were the better team throughout the game. This is a Sparta team who have lost four out of the last five games, this is a team Celtic should be beating. They have been humiliated over two legs. 8-2 was the score over two games.
Neil Lennon now is under severe pressure. This is a team who have conceded 21 goals in the last nine games. They haven’t stepped up in the big games. They look disjointed, disorganised and, he’s my mate, but he’s in big trouble. I can’t defend that – it was a hopeless, hopeless performance.
I know that the board have backed him, but they have a decision to make. The last time a (Celtic) manager was on this bad a run was Tony Mowbray. Ronny Deila failed in Europe too. This isn’t the Champions League though, this is the Europa League and for Celtic to be out after four games isn’t good enough.
This time last year Celtic beat Lazio and they qualified after four games. They’ve regressed and he’s in trouble. I’m not sure it solves the problems if he does go. It’s a huge decision for the board to make. He’s won nine major trophies as Celtic manager. Do they trust him?
I don’t know what’s been going on behind the scenes. Whether Peter Lawwell has seen enough with what’s going on in the training ground to trust him. The fact of the matter is the results have not been good enough and it’s been all season. It’s been on Neil Lennon’s watch.
You can’t get knocked out the Europa League after four games. It happened to Ronny Deila and I don’t know where Neil goes from here. He needs a reaction. But I watched his whole interview (after the match) and some of the stuff he was saying, in my opinion, was delusional – and he’s my mate!
He got a lot wrong about tonight. I can’t stick up for him on the evidence of what we’ve seen this season.
Premier Sport will cover Sunday’s Betfred Cup tie between Celtic and Ross County.