Celtic winning run shouldn't be used to halt demand for Parkhead change
As Celtic secured their third consecutive win last night, it’s vital the Hoops supporters don’t lose sight of the bigger picture at Parkhead.
Indeed, Neil Lennon’s men managed to continue the easing of the incessant pressure that’s been on the manager all season. Winning will do that. It’ll put some water over some of the fire. The heat will be turned down and fans will cool their anger to an extent given some semblance of normality has returned to our performances.
However, at the same time, this is ironically one of the most dangerous obstacles to our calls for change.
Lennon and Celtic will use the winning run to paint a positive picture. The more victories that get added to that, the more they’ll try to let you know things are back to normal. That we’re in a good place and that the worst thing we can do is rock the boat.
But at the same time, we have to be smart about this. We have to remember that the sheer need for a new management team is more important and carries more weight than any run Lennon puts together between now and the end of the season.
The manager has already had a positive run of form earlier this season. When the campaign started, Celtic won eight of their first nine league matches. A few wins hardly means Lennon now knows what he’s doing or deserves to stay in the hot seat.
My concern is what a winning run does for the perception of the situation around Parkhead. That two wins against Rangers and a narrowing of the gap will be seen as Lennon having healed the wounds. A sign that he’s found his best team, fixed the bleeding, and is ready to carry the fight next season.
Celtic need an injection of freshness in the Parkhead dugout this summer; no winning run changes that
But let’s not forget that plenty of these players will be away in the summer in any case. It’s likely that Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer depart, for example. Big question marks also hover over the futures of Ryan Christie, Moi Elyounoussi, etc.
Lennon simply cannot be trusted with the rebuild. He signed a total of five players in the summer and only one has made any real impact in David Turnbull. Not to mention over £10m or so was splashed out on it [Transfermarkt]. Why on earth should he be given the opportunity to build for what will be a colossal campaign next season?
You then have the way he’s treated the supporters’ concerns this season. He’s refused to even acknowledge criticism of the board, and has reacted with sheer arrogance to questions regarding his own future [BBC]. When push comes to shove, Lennon’s been shown up when forced to answer key supporter concerns.
You then have the failure to pick our better players for long stages of the season in Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull. His failure to find a consistent, regular number one over the course of the full campaign. A reluctance to go with two strikers for far too long. His constant Shane Duffy inclusion in starting XIs or matchday squads.
There has been nothing to suggest Lennon deserves or is even capable of leading Celtic next season. The anger we’ve had for his performance levels this term cannot be allowed to be diluted simply because he may end the season in decent form.
That kind of thought process would be both naive and detrimental to the club. Hopefully, even if Lennon wins every game from now until the season’s end, we’re still sitting with a new managerial team in place for the next campaign.