Neil Lennon has absolutely destroyed the media today as he took them to task for the treatment of Celtic’s players.
The Hoops have been in a slump over the last week after setbacks against Rangers, AC Milan, and Aberdeen respectively. However, the performances from the vast majority have been poor since the start of the season.
After the most recent blow – the 3-3 draw at Pittodrie on Sunday, new centre-back Shane Duffy has come in for fierce criticism from the supporters and the media. In recent weeks, Andy Walker has had a big pop at new goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas too (Sky Sports).
And it appears that Lennon has had enough of it as he launched a staunch defence of his players this afternoon.
As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Lennon said: “Players getting singled out and abused, it is absolutely shocking. I am not happy with the treatment he is getting from certain quarters of the media. I think it is hysterical. Comments that he (Duffy) is rank rotten and he is a bombscare. You’ve seen it – you know what I’m talking about. I find that ridiculous.
“He is a quality player. The personal, banging the drum with certain players is unacceptable. He made a mistake, he shouldn’t be hung out to dry for it. He has my full support, he has the team’s full support. I have seen millions of players come in here and take time to find their feet and then go on to have brilliant careers. If we had held out on Sunday then we’d be on the same level of points as we had last season, so I don’t know where all the hysteria is coming from.
“But, there is a clear lack of respect for the players, management and backroom staff at the minute because of one bad week.”
A lot of pent up frustration
You can tell Lennon has plenty of pent up frustration in his comments here. They aren’t words you would be hearing from him if Celtic had held out and won 3-2 at Pittodrie on Sunday.
And yes, perhaps he does indeed have a point. There is almost certainly an over-reaction to some of the recent individual errors from Duffy, and perhaps there should be more leeway given.
However, the importance of the season doesn’t allow that. Lennon is smart enough to know that Celtic fans in such a critical point in our 10-in-a-row chase will not allow for continued dropped points.
Have the media been unfair with some of our players? Probably, but I don’t personally feel there’s been a backlash towards them that’s any greater than what our own support have dished out at times. That’s just the nature of the season we have ahead of us.
But Lennon needs to start facing the facts here. Celtic have now played 16 games this season – you’ll do well to find even a handful of good overall performances within them. That, regardless of what season it is, isn’t good enough.
It’s not a sacking offence just yet of course. Lennon is quite right to beat away suggestions of that for now, but an immediate upturn must be found. You can’t blame supporters who are worried about where that is coming from.