Neil Lennon's comments on Celtic player fitness tonight are astonishing

By John McGinley

December 6, 2020

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has stopped defending his players in public after today’s poor 1-1 draw with St Johnstone.

Declaring some of his charges not up to the required fitness standards, he looked to place some of the blame for the club’s current predicament on his underperforming stars.

Speaking to PLZ Soccer, he said: “I don’t want to pre-empt anything, I want to keep working and trying to turn it round. We need a bit of swagger back in the team that’s missing at the minute.

“Some players aren’t fit enough and that’s been the case for a long time. Some players are just not in good form. They need respite at some stage, they need some support from me.

“But again it’s a two-way thing, the players have got to play better, we’re trying everything we can to get performances right.”

With the greatest respect Neil, it’s December, how can enough Celtic players not be fit enough for it to be a contributing factor to a result like today’s?

Either it’s a hollow excuse or it’s a complete disgrace and a damning indictment of the training at Lennoxtown.

Is one of the fundamental duties of any football manager not ensuring players are in peak physical condition to take on the challenges that lay ahead of them?

Celtic have won just two games in the last 12. The defence is shipping goals at an alarming rate, especially against any half-decent sides. If fitness is the issue, we might have bigger problems than anyone thinks.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

I get that it’s difficult for the manager to conduct these interviews in the direct aftermath of a poor result, but come on.

I know there’s a lot of anger surrounding Neil Lennon right now, but in truth, I just feel sympathy.

His exit is long past due and the decision-makers who can make it happen must take him out of the firing line. For his, and Celtic’s sake.