Paul Lambert has blamed Celtic’s want-away players for pushing Neil Lennon out the door.
Where the blame lies between players and management is never easy to identify but straight after losing to Ferencvaros in August Lennon claimed that he had players that wanted to be elsewhere.
The same starting XI were picked for the next match, at home to Motherwell. With more than a month left in the transfer window no-one left Celtic while Shane Duffy, David Turnbull and Diego Laxalt were brought in.
Those comments from after the Ferencvaros match have dogged Celtic all season as fans and pundits speculated over who wanted to move on.
During the January transfer window Jeremie Frimpong, Olivier Ntcham and Hatem Abd Elhamed left the club but before January was over Lennon had decided to quit.
Picking up on his appearance on Go Radio, the Daily Record reports Lambert saying:
I watched the game against Ross County the other week and they never turned up. They never laid a glove on them. That’s not Celtic.
Some of them looked as if they didn’t want to be there and that was the big thing for me. If that’s the case you have to move them out. I don’t think the players will be given grace this time around, I think they have to get it back.
You’re representing a global institution of a football club, it’s not as if it’s just a European club. It’s worldwide. And the pressure should be there, it should be there. If you’re at the top and you’re competing with Rangers the pressure should be on your shoulders to win games. I think there’s been an acceptance from some of them, looking at it.
John (Hartson) will tell you in the old days we just wouldn’t put up with that, Barry (Ferguson) will tell you in his dressing room they wouldn’t put up with that. It’s an acceptance of, ‘I don’t want to shout at my team-mate in case he clams in on himself or doesn’t like the criticism’.
Well sometimes I think you need it. I played with guys who won World Cups and were unbelievable in a dressing room when things weren’t going right. They won things at the highest level.
Regardless of who you are, if you’re not doing the job you’ve got to be told to get your finger out. Looking at the Ross County game I think they let Lenny down.
It’s dead easy hiding behind Lenny, they’ve got to look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘we didn’t perform’. It’s dead easy to hide behind a manager when things are not going right and they’ve got to take responsibility themselves.
On Sunday night Lambert left Ipswich Town by mutual consent. Peviously he has managed Norwich, Aston Villa and Stoke in the EPL.