Robbie Neilson jumps to Neil Lennon's defence; bigs up Celtic boss' fighting spirit

By Euan Davidson

December 15, 2020

Celtic boss Neil Lennon is a “winner”, according to his Scottish Cup Final opponent.

Robbie Neilson, now at Hearts, takes his team to Hampden on Sunday with the intention of ending Celtic’s Scottish Cup run.

Celtic stand on the brink of an unprecedented Quadruple Treble. Neilson, the former Dundee United gaffer, will be determined to stop them.

However, he did have plenty of positives to say about his opposite coach. Although Neilson won’t want Neil Lennon to continue the Bhoys’ run of wins on Sunday, he’s adamant that the club should stick by him.

Neilson said (Daily Record):

“I’ve had it as well, you know, when you’re under pressure and you have to get results. I still believe Neil will turn it around.

“He’s a very good coach, he’s a winner – he’s proven that over the last 20-odd years he’s been at Celtic.”

 

Hearts striker Liam Boyce (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Neilson’s side are on impressive form

Neilson added:

“Every club has little periods when they go up and down, up and down, up and down.

“It’s just part of football. Hopefully we can get a result on Sunday, that’s the main thing from our perspective and I’m sure Neil will continue to keep fighting like he has done for years and years.”

That’s as may be, but it’s good of him to say it. Unfortunately for Neil Lennon, Celtic aren’t a club who can’t afford to go “up and down”. Such are the expectations of the board and supporters.

Although football is a game of trends and transience, the fact is Celtic have had the best resources in Scotland for nearly a decade. The pressure on Neil Lennon has been somewhat justified given the form shown this season.

As we’ve already covered, Neilson’s Hearts side may be a tier below us, but are still on red-hot form.

Northern Ireland international Liam Boyce cannot stop scoring. Steven Naismith, often an irritant against Celtic, is back in contention. Between those two, Jamie Walker and Elliot Frear, goals and service are not a problem.

Having just dismantled Queen of the South 6-1 (BBC), the Jam Tarts will be right up for this one.

Neil Lennon has to show his “winner” credentials to secure history yet again for Celtic. The last Scottish Cup Final may have been a tense affair, but this one is bound to have goals, drama and plenty of flash points to talk over.