Is there really a ‘crisis’ at Celtic this season? There are real questions to be asked about Neil Lennon, but it might not actually be that bad…
Celtic only have won twice in the last eight games. Celtic only have lost once all season.
Both of these things are true, and thus both can be used as evidence for the state of crisis or otherwise at Parkhead this season. Their position in the table – 11 points back with two games in hand – plus just how good Rangers are currently looking, certainly paints the picture of a club in a tailspin.
But on The Totally Scottish Football Show this week, our panel wondered if there really was a ‘crisis’ at Celtic, and whether Neil Lennon really does deserve to be sacked.
“I know people want Lennon to go,” said JJ Bull, “but he was the one that started this run [of ten title wins in a row]. I know there weren’t many challengers, but he was still winning things with Celtic with a lot of these players. To me it’s the players that aren’t performing as they need to.
“Lennon going after Scott Brown is interesting – is he doing it on purpose to let everyone know that nobody is untouchable? It feels like he wants to make changes but can’t really do anything.”
Laura Brannan thinks there are some psychological issues at play:
“It feels like the idea of stopping ‘the ten’ has gripped them so they can’t focus on anything else. The fans are panicking and melting down [whenever anything goes wrong].
“They’ve won 16 consecutive trophies, 35-odd consecutive cup games – they’ve lost one league game this season. That’s not a crisis, that doesn’t make Lennon a bad manager. The two games in hand isn’t helping, it’s a psychological disadvantage because you’re looking at the table with a big gap and there’s no guarantee they’ll get the six points [from those two games].
“I don’t think it’s time to panic. Yes, there needs to be some sort of ‘shot’ or bolt of lightning to give them life again, but I think it’s too soon to call it a crisis.”
Still, there is the sense that Lennon isn’t suitable for Celtic – or at least not suitable for this Celtic.
Andrew Slaven said: “I spoke to a former Hibs player once: he said Lennon’s management style isn’t to ‘coach’ – he’s very much a ‘rocket up your arse, standing at the side of the pitch’ manager. But young players don’t react to that, because they’re hungry to learn how to play football.
“Maybe Lennon’s management style is to go in and put a rocket up a team to get them playing a certain level, but after a period of time, that’s going to wear off. And I wonder if it’s starting to wear off at Celtic.”
Laura Brannan added: “I wonder if Lennon is a victim of the Brendan Rodgers era, and the short-term vision the club had when they brought him in. We’re now seeing there wasn’t a long-term plan put in place a few years back, and it’s starting to have an impact now.”
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