Former Celtic striker and Man Utd great Brian McClair has had his say on the situation at Parkhead as he discussed the criticism facing Neil Lennon.
The pressure on the Celtic gaffer has ramped up tenfold since the last international break. Defeats to Rangers, AC Milan, and Sparta Prague as well as dropped points against Aberdeen has cast a negative shadow around Glasgow’s East End.
Lennon’s men managed to respond to the pressure with a fine 4-1 win at Motherwell before the players split up for the current international break. However, his comments when asked about criticism in recent weeks haven’t impressed. Lennon recently said: “Nobody sees what I do on the training ground, I’m here from 8.30am until six at night. A minority of our fans need to calm down and let the players settle.” (Sky Sports).
But McClair believes the Celtic boss needs to accept that criticism is going to come his way when he looks back on recent performances. Speaking in his column on TheSetPieces, McClair said the following:
“After a run which has seen them lose three home games on the bounce, pressure has naturally increased on Celtic boss Neil Lennon after his side went into this campaign with very realistic hopes of a historic 10th league title in a row.
“Of course, if you lose three games on the spin these days, you’re naturally in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, despite what you’ve achieved in the past and even with games in hand. Playing catch-up to a decent-looking Rangers side won’t be easy.
“What hasn’t helped Lennon’s cause is that Celtic have performed poorly since the last international break and if you lose and play badly, then you can always expect criticism despite suffering a number of injuries.”
Rangers game didn’t create criticism – it just heightened it
I don’t want to delve too much into the criticism of Lennon, because I think we’ve said next to everything that can be said about it. It’s time to move forward and try to build on Sunday’s positive result in North Lanarkshire.
However, what’s important to acknowledge is that the powderpuff defeat to Rangers didn’t invent the criticism. Lennon’s critics didn’t just come up from nowhere after that one – there has been disgruntlement amongst the supporters all season for the level of performances we’ve produced.
Considering it was then followed by dropped points to AC Milan, Aberdeen, Lille, and then Sparta Prague, it’s no wonder supporters have grown concerned about the consistency of the squad.
McClair isn’t wrong. Lennon has to expect criticism for the displays fans are watching. Yes, results are all that matter this season, but if you’re not getting them then the performances will be highlighted. The product in games we’ve won narrowly will also be brought up too. That’s just how football management goes.
But now it is indeed time to move forward. It’s important to remember that we’re only as good as our last game, and that last game was a powerful display against Motherwell.
Easter Road is up next and even though that may have some rolling their eyes in dismay given our recent history there, wins at venues like these will help remove the clouds from Parkhead more than anything else.