Neil Lennon launches stinging attack on the press after explosive Celtic interview last month

By David Walton

February 21, 2021

Neil Lennon has hit out at the treatment of Celtic from the press this season as he cited an explosive January interview.

Lennon has been feeling the heat from the media and supporters stretching back to August’s 2-1 Champions League home exit to Ferencvaros. It was a result that sent alarm bills ringing, with the pressure cranked up another few notches after losing 2-0 to Rangers at Parkhead in October.

Since then, Lennon has been forced to come out and answer tough questions on the club, the board, and his own future. One prime example of this was a pre-match interview Lennon took with the BBC, where he showed real frustration throughout and was accused of storming off.

The Celtic boss was happy to cite that in the build-up to Ross County vs Celtic this evening. Speaking in comments attributed to The Scotsman, Lennon let rip at the press for how they’ve conducted their interviews with the Parkhead club this season.

“It’s certainly not right”

“The interviewing techniques have dramatically changed, particularly this season on certain managers [and] it’s certainly not right. re-empting answers, being aggressive, talking about people losing their job, pre-empting other people to come in and take over – I think it’s very unfair. It’s not right, it’s not ethical and I don’t think it’s professional, to tell you the truth.

“Interviewers want to be the story rather than the manager who is there defending his team, defending his tactics, defending the result or defending himself. They shouldn’t have to defend themselves all the time when things are not going well.

“I had a 23-question interview 30 minutes before the Livingston game – 23. Then I was accused of walking away. That created a totally wrong narrative. I was there, answered every question as best I could and still the narrative was: “Oh, he’s stormed off”. It’s absolute rubbish. And nothing gets done about it. What you are going to do is end up rubbing people up the wrong way and we’ll end up not speaking to you.”

Celtic interview techniques have been fine; Neil Lennon needs to remember commitment to supporters

Yes it’s fashionable to have a pop at the media I know. Calling out journalists for their treatment of the club is fun for supporters and helps create an us against the world siege mentality.

But let’s be frank for a moment – Lennon has brought much of this upon himself. Any criticism Celtic receives in the form of difficult questions is something he needs to deal with. Yes there will be questions over managers’ futures. Yes, there will be analysis of his conduct during interviews and his body-language. That’s all part of it whether Lennon likes it or not.

Lennon has been dealing with the media for long enough to know to expect this level of critique. If there’s a question he feels is unacceptable or over the top then that’s fine. But to act as though there has been constant over-the-top critique this year is to put your fingers in your ears and pretend everything is allright.

Neil Lennon before Livingston vs Celtic (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Remember, there were periods this season when Celtic had won two of 12 games. Ridiculous prolonged runs of failure that effective ruined our campaign. The club then went on a trip to Dubai that was correctly highly-criticised.

Just because Lennon doesn’t agree with certain aspects of the criticism doesn’t mean the methods taken were unethical this year. It’s far too easy to point to journalists and say “they’re part of the problem”. This year, the club has been held to account for a failure to secure what they’ve worked for nine years to achieve.

If the Celtic boss thinks the interviewing techniques from the media have been bad, he’s fortunate he isn’t confronting questions from the supporters.

In other news, Davie Provan has hit out at the Celtic board and singled out one man in particular.