Former Celtic striker and Daily Record columnist Chris Sutton claims the hierarchy’s backing of Neil Lennon is confusing.
Sutton, who has defended Lennon vehemently in the past (Daily Record), spoke to the Record Celtic Podcast, saying:
“A lot of people, myself included, wouldn’t think that’d be the case, but the fact that he is in charge is an odd decision by the club because of the implications of team selection.
“Celtic have to go for the league now. In my opinion, they have to play a complete second string on Thursday. Europe doesn’t matter now. Celtic can’t qualify.”
Sutton did, however, use his platform to criticise fans who caused troubling scenes outside Celtic Park on Sunday. Following full-time against Ross County, hundreds of supporters turned up to protest, with three police staff suffering “minor” injuries (BBC).
“I’m 100 per cent certain that Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell wouldn’t be listening to a baying mob, as they were.
“I felt really sad. There’s a guy there who has committed 14 years of his life to the club. There’s a guy who has had bullets sent through the post. He quit international football for the club. He’s Celtic through and through.”
It’s true that Neil Lennon is a club legend, but Celtic fans’ protests were not about Neil Lennon, the man. They were about the declining standards of a successful team and displays that have lacked heart and effort.
Is Sutton right?
Chris Sutton will have done his reputation no good amongst the Celtic support in recent weeks, as we’ve covered previously.
However, he’s more entitled to give his forthright opinions on this occasion. What happened outside Celtic Park on Sunday night was ugly. Fans absolutely have the right to protest, and should if it’s safe to, but the Sunday night’s escalation was unsavoury.
It’ll also be a massive blow to Neil Lennon personally that Sutton has described his employment as “odd”. Sutton added:
“Clarification is what is needed at this moment in time because the Celtic fans are all up in the air.
“Maybe Neil is doing stuff behind the scenes and Peter Lawwell can see a method and a plan. Why not come out and tell us?
“You have to tell us why you are backing Neil. I think that’s a huge issue.
“It looks as though they are being indecisive. If they believe in Neil, come out and say so.”
Much is made of the friendships in the team that marched Celtic to Seville, with John Hartson, Chris Sutton and Jackie McNamara already in prominent media roles. There’s no chance any of them will enjoy covering the awful form Celtic have shown under Neil Lennon this season.
However, Sutton’s directness in his comments is a stark contrast to the Chris Sutton who was defending his mate in all corners of the press just a couple of weeks ago.