Lennon criticised Barkas work ethic pre-match; also addressed Celtic DoF question, said striker could be fitter

By John McGinley

January 30, 2021

Celtic manager Neil Lennon called the work ethic of Vasilis Barkas into question in his pre-match interview today.

The manager has decided to replace Barkas with Scott Bain as the team’s number one goalkeeper.

That’s despite the Greek international joining for big money in the summer and Bain clearly not being the future at Celtic.

It has been a controversial call for some supporters.

Lennon was quizzed on the subject again by BBC reporter Kenny MacIntyre today.

The Bhoys boss said live on Radio Scotland (14:31): “His work ethic can be better. I don’t think he’s performed anywhere near the level we think he can. So, it’d be folly to continue in the same vein if there’s no improvement and we’re not seeing that in his performances at the minute.

“He understands. I expect him to be disappointed, but I think he understands my position on it and he knows himself he hasn’t done well enough.”

That’s an interesting set of comments. The manager clearly feels that Barkas isn’t quite pulling his weight in training or matches.

Whether you think that is harsh or not, we at least have an insight into the manager’s decision making.

Bain has hardly covered himself in glory today, so it’ll be an issue that rumbles on.

Neil Lennon didn’t just speak about Barkas

The manager also provided an update on Leigh Griffiths’ status. The striker has been given a renewed chance in his starting eleven of late.

For Lennon, there is still work to be done on Griffiths’ side, but he’s happy having him in the team right now.

He told Radio Scotland (14:31): “He has to look at his own responsibilities to himself, as to why he hasn’t played more. He’s in the team at the minute, and he’s in decent form, he can get better. Still, for me, he can get in better condition. He’s a wonderful goalscorer and a top talent when he’s on form.”

Neil Lennon spoke about Vasilis Barkas, Leigh Griffiths and Dom McKay pre-match / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Finally, the manager was asked about the incoming Chief Executive Dominic McKay. Lennon confirmed he only heard about the appointment yesterday and hasn’t yet spoken to the Scottish rugby man.

However, he did seem to suggest structural change could be on the way at Celtic. The manager was asked whether or not there will be a Director of Football appointed.

Speaking to the BBC (14:31), Lennon said: “Possibly. I don’t know; Peter’s here until the end of the season. So I’m sure those structural redesigns, if there’s going to be any, will be discussed over that period of time.”

Change is what Celtic fans are craving right now and, at least publicly, Lennon is not part of those conversations. That hints that he won’t be manager beyond this season.

In other news, John Hartson has called on a Celtic player clear-out this summer.