Lennon's defensive response to Celtic title question is exactly the mentality we need

By David Walton

December 30, 2020

It’s fair to say that Celtic boss Neil Lennon’s media game has certainly picked up since we started getting results again.

No longer is he defending the indefensible. No longer is he having a pop at supporters or undermining how poor we were playing. In truth, he never has been all that great at hitting the right notes when we’re in poor form.

Admittedly, it’s a harder job for him than to glorify victories and good performances. But even so, he’s still having to combat questions on being so far behind Rangers in the title race despite our upturn in form.

Lennon has been fairly timid when it comes to hitting out at those who believe the league is over. But he wasn’t in any mood to let them off yesterday. When touching on the state of the title-race, Lennon said the following as quoted by the Scottish Sun:

“I’m not happy with the league position and where we find ourselves, but our motivation is to rectify that as quickly as possible. I’m not saying I’ve come through this with flying colours, or anything like that, but we have turned a little bit of a corner.

“That can change again in one 90 minutes, so we’re not getting carried away. But anyone writing us off would be foolish. Psychologically, we are moving in the right direction. I think winning the Cup was huge.

“I’ve definitely noticed a sea change in the attitude of some players and their body language and their performances as well. Thankfully, they have knuckled down now and they are contributing in a really positive way.”

With results improving, Celtic need a strong level of belief

We’ve been calling for a bit of fight and fire from Lennon for a long time. For those dismissing the club from the outside, it helps the players to know they’re being backed.

Psychologically, it does a lot for the players to see their manager lashing out at naysayers. It’ll make Lennon a figure that everyone wants to play for and will create a positive atmosphere around the club.

Lennon has a habit of showing a touch too much humility when we’re playing well for me. He only appears to get overly-defensive when things aren’t going so well and that can turn fans off. It’s vital that he shows that same level of fight when results are going well. That’s what we’re seeing with these comments.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic are going good guns just now. Not great guns which the manager was keen to acknowledge. But results have picked up and we’ve won five games in a row. That’s bought the manager more time. And it’s clear he knows that’s all it’s done as he continues to fight Celtic’s title corner.

Having Lennon express just how stupid it is to rule us out of the title race with three derbies still to play is important. It creates a sense of belief around the place.

Hopefully, that helps us reach our next big landmark in clawing Rangers back – beating them at Ibrox after another three points against Dundee United today. Regardless, the manager is finally hitting the right notes in the media. His fight and passion is coming back out again. It simply must stay from here onwards.

In other news, Lennon has discussed the state of the Celtic Park pitch.