Neil Lennon believes the Celtic players have stepped up their intensity in training this week, with a more positive look to their body language.
One of the main criticisms of the Hoops players this season has been their apparent lack of effort. Some supporters have been left feeling disconnected with the team due to some of their recent performances.
Whether it’s true or not, there’s been a sense that the Celtic players had downed tools. It would certainly explain some of the bizarre results in recent months such as the two 4-1 losses to Sparta Prague, or the 1-1 home draw vs St Johnstone. How else do you explain the 2-0 Betfred Cup defeat to Ross County too?
But Lennon has moved to dismiss any fears of that ahead of today’s Scottish Cup final vs Hearts. He’s revealed to supporters some of the positive things he’s noticed at Lennoxtown as he bigs up his team.
As quoted by the Herald, Lennon said: “It’s certainly different, all the furore and meeting people in the street, it’s a lot calmer,” he said.
“There’s definitely been a sign of anticipation in the training and the body language this week. The players seem to be a lot more engaged and a lot more together, which is great.
“I don’t think I need to (explain the severity of the game to them), because I think the players are completely aware of what the gravity of the game is. A lot of them have won three Trebles and they don’t take it for granted. We know how difficult it is to win a trophy.”
Have there been things wrong at the Celtic training base recently?
These comments are interesting from Lennon.
Sure, it’s great to see that the players are fired up for today. We need that because as well as an historic quadruple treble, we need to keep building on recent momentum. The fact their body language is looking good should reflect well on the performance.
However, whether Lennon realises it or not here, he’s opened the door a little too far. It’s clear from these comments that there have been problems at Lennoxtown in recent weeks. Were the players less engaged in recent weeks? Was there a lack of togetherness in the dressing room?
That’s what the manager is pointing to here. These things will never truly be revealed with everything kept in-house, but it would only back up supporters who questioned the lack of effort.
There can be no more of that in the coming weeks. As well as the quadruple treble, 10-in-a-row is of vital importance. Any further ground lost and we make it almost impossible for ourselves to claw back.
Here’s hoping this apparent spring in the Celtic players’ step is on full show today. If it isn’t, we could easily be caught cold.