Celtic great John Hartson opens up on Neil Lennon after public falling out

By David Walton

January 28, 2021

Celtic great John Hartson has stated that 99% of fans want Neil Lennon gone, after he was engulfed in a public spat with him last week.

Hartson wasn’t happy with the Celtic boss after our 0-0 draw with Livingston almost two weeks ago. Big John stated that it was time for a change on Ten10Podcasts’ Instant Celtic reaction show.

Lennon didn’t sound too pleased. He claimed that Hartson’s opinion meant “nothing” to him and that pundits had an “easy life” [Daily Record]. Hartson would then state that he was “disappointed and hurt” by the manager’s retort [The Herald].

Speaking to Football Pass today, Hartson as again opened up on Lennon’s future as he repeated calls for him to go:

“Well I’ve been Neil’s biggest supporters all season. I’ve backed him, I’ve made contact with him and everybody knows that to my own detriment I was getting a lot of stick for sticking up for my mate or my pal as people keep telling me.

“I genuinely thought up until four or five weeks ago going into the second Rangers and Celtic game at Ibrox. Celtic got beat but played very well. They went 19 points behind but had three games in hand. When they came back from Dubai I thought to myself if they win those three games in hand it’s back to 10, but they dropped six points.

“They drew them three games and then I looked at it and thought I think Celtic have to make a change. For as much as I’ve played with Neil and supported him I just think it needs a freshness about it, and I think 99 per cent of the supporters are with me on that.”

Celtic still all over the place; Hartson doesn’t have to explain his views on Lennon

It’s as if Hartson feels the need to explain why he feels the way he does regarding the manager. Perhaps that comes from the relationship he’s built up with him over the years.

But nobody has taken more stick than the Welshman for sticking up for Neil. He isn’t lying when he says he’s been the manager’s biggest supporter. After crushing blows such as the Ferencvaros debacle or the dreadful home loss to Rangers – Hartson was still out calling for Lennon to be backed.

He’s done more than anyone to push the Lennon bandwagon. Unfortunately for John, Lennon has done all he can to destroy it with his results, comments, and general dismissiveness towards supporters.

Celtic favourite John Hartson / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

That Hartson has stuck it out for this long is surprising in itself. And it’s good to hear that yesterday’s 2-0 win over Hamilton at Parkhead hasn’t changed his mind either. Big John is simply following the rest of us in our calls for change.

I get Neil’s former players and team-mates will feel a sense of loyalty towards him. However, that’s now a team of them coming out and calling for him to go. Chris Sutton was the first back in November to call time on him. Then it was Stiliyan Petrov [Celtic Huddle Podcast].

Former player Mark Wilson has also joined the calls along with Hartson [Sky Sports]. Let’s face it, they can’t all be wrong…

In other news, Celtic have been linked with a former Premier League and SPFL manager.