John McGinn admits Neil Lennon's Celtic fate left him "gutted"

By David Walton

March 16, 2021

Aston Villa superstar John McGinn has admitted that he was left “absolutely gutted” by Neil Lennon leaving Celtic last month.

The former Hoops manager left the club in late February after what has been a dismal season in our hunt for 10IAR. Lennon was backed heavily in the summer, but failed to get the best out of his signings or the players already at the club.

Even news of his departure didn’t leave Celtic fans with any warm feelings for Lennon. Losing the 10 in the manner we did appears to have absolutely destroyed his reputation at Parkhead.

But he clearly has a backer in McGinn. The duo worked together during their time at Hibs, and John has backed Lennon to bounce right back.

Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show, McGinn said: “I was gutted. Obviously working with the gaffer at Hibs I had a really close relationship with him. For me as a player it was great to have someone who was such a winner.

Celtic 3-1 Sheffield Wednesday | LIVE Reaction

“He drilled into me every day what it took and what it meant to play for a club who expected to win every week. Even though it was at Hibs, he drilled that mentality into the players.

“So it was tough to watch (his time at Celtic). I don’t know the reason as to why they weren’t as successful, but I’ve no doubt with the success he’s had at previous clubs and the calibre of manager the guy is, he’ll be back in as soon as possible.”

John McGinn clearly close with Neil Lennon; but manager’s reputation is in tatters

It would be easy to sit here and remember Lennon more fondly for his achievements as a player. Or even in his first stint as a manager. But the truth is the damage he inflicted on the team this season can’t be forgotten.

Lennon’s Celtic reputation is in tatters. This isn’t something that time will heal either. He’ll forever be known as the manager who made a mess of 10IAR and refused to leave early enough for it to be retrieved.

And it’s the latter that has Celtic fans so filled with fury when they think of his time here. It’s not so much that Lennon struggled for the first few months of the season. It’s not the fact we dropped behind Rangers in the league early on and failed to make an impact in Europe.

Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

No, the sheer gall of Lennon to stay in the job whilst it was clear it wasn’t working was the final straw. That’s what ultimately cost us the 10. Had he left in November or even early December, he would be well thought of. For it would’ve looked as though he was looking out for the club’s best interests.

But he wasn’t. Even towards the end of the season he was still discussing staying at the club for the summer rebuild. Supporter anger had turned to supporter apathy yet he appeared oblivious to it all.

So as much as McGinn is a fan, and Lennon will have plenty others in the game, how he’s viewed amongst Celtic fans will never be the same as it was before.

In other news, we take a look at three players who could reignite their Celtic careers at Rangers’ expense.