It is sad to cover it but time has run out on Neil Lennon as Celtic manager.
He has done more than most for Celtic, no one has suffered more off the pitch abuse and attacks but that can’t be used as a defence for horrendous results and form and the clear chasm that has built up between the manager and players.
Everyone has an instinct for survival, with his own background Lennon has those qualities in abundance but he isn’t going to turn around this season. This isn’t Rugby Park, October 2011 or Dubai, January 2020.
All managers have a shelf-life, at Celtic it tends to be four years. With his personality 18 months looks like the limits of Lennon’s power to influence.
After defeats earlier this season he revealed that some players wanted to leave, following the 4-1 home defeat from Sparta Prague he wanted to see culture change.
Yesterday after a grim and predictable 2-2 draw at Hibs be questioned the hunger of the players and suggested laziness. Those aspects shouldn’t be under question, lines have been crossed that can’t be redrawn.
The Sun reports Lennon saying:
It is laziness, a lack of concentration, we need to be far more on point with our defending. Maybe they have lost a bit of hunger. The need to get that back quickly. I saw a lot of it in the last 20 minutes but we gave ourselves too much to do to win the game with defending on that.
It will do if we keep getting results like that. We have to accept that and if there is any criticism of the performance today then I can’t defend that. We will all have to accept it.
Lennon risks damaging his stock and reputation at Celtic. If he needs an example of how supporter opinion and legacy can be affected he only needs to think of the guy that he replaced in the job.
By resigning he can walk away with his head held high, winning four out of four trophies after coming to the rescue in February 2019.
Since day one Lennon’s hands have been tied behind his back. The backroom staff was imposed on him, he wasn’t really in a position to negotiate, even after winning four trophies he wasn’t allowed to pick his own coach to replace Damien Duff.
He can then put the spotlight and responsibility on the man that appointed him as caretaker then made the position permanent without considering any other candidate.