As Neil Lennon continues to cling onto the Celtic job, it would appear he’s on his last warning.
Indeed, the Scottish Sun reported last night that Lennon knows he needs to drastically turn things around in order to hold onto his job into the New Year.
Despite only winning two games out of our last 10, losing our last four home games in all competitions, and having conceded a ridiculous 23 goals in said 10 games – Lennon’s still here and the club’s majority shareholder is still seemingly backing him.
But it wasn’t long ago that Desmond was keen to let his high standards be known to the Celtic support when he had a chat with Lennon about how disappointed he was with the club’s 5-0 win over Ross County in Dingwall. This was all the way back in September.
Lennon and Desmond had a meeting after the game in which the manager was given a stern warning about the performance on the day. Speaking back then, Lennon said the following as quoted by the Glasgow Times:
“We do talk on a regular basis, so he’s got his finger on the pulse of the club and the team.
“He made it clear and we didn’t shy away from it, that he didn’t think the performance against Ross County was good. If you are open and honest with Dermot and straight, you get rewarded for that.”
Desmond made his standards clear; why have they dropped so suddenly?
Sure, Desmond’s view on that 5-0 County mauling was a bit harsh at the time. Vasilis Barkas had several stops to make. Outside of that, the Hoops were generally dominant enough and created enough chances for it to pass as an acceptable display.
But the fact is Desmond wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t a performance that he saw fit for a Celtic team who, in his vision, should be playing to a far greater standard.
So why have his standards dropped so steeply? Several months later and nothing has changed in a positive manner for the club. We’ve produced dreadful displays against Rangers, AC Milan, Aberdeen, and Hibernian as well as some scandalous ones against Sparta Prague (x2) and Ross County at the weekend.
If Desmond saw fit to give Lennon a firm warning about the performance after our win in Dingwall back in September, surely he’s at his wits end over what he’s seen since then? You can’t just pretend to have high standards when it suits you and expect it to deceive the Celtic support when things really do take a downward turn.
And by the way, the performances haven’t just been poor for two months. Throw in Ferencvaros, Riga, Sarajevo, Kilmarnock, Dundee United, St Johnstone, and Livingston into that bracket of poor displays too. There’s been very little to be excited about all season, yet when Desmond is being asked to make the toughest of calls and cut ties with the manager, he can’t bring himself to do it.
But none of this will surprise us as supporters. Desmond was never going to be quick to pull the trigger on Lennon. It’s easy to boast about high standards and come across as a perfectionist when you’re getting some positive results. But it’s when things take a serious downturn that your standards will truly be tested.
Desmond, in that regard, has failed us big time in the last few weeks. It’s time for him to be stronger with his manager, regardless of how cushy their relationship may be.