There seems to be a bit of a feeling of insignificance ahead of tomorrow night’s game in Prague – an inconvenience perhaps would be more fitting.
Celtic dropped more points at Easter Road on Saturday, and the fans are now just getting fed up with our slump. That’s now two wins in eight games as our season threatens to run away from us.
Naturally, given our struggles in the league and the fact we’re now 11 points behind in the potential 10-in-a-row season, we all just want the Premiership to resume. The sooner we eat into Rangers’ lead, the better we’ll all start feeling about ourselves.
So of course, with a game against Prague in a Europa League group that we’re all but out of, the prospect of the game is generally met with a roll of the eyes and a willingness from many to just get it over with.
But our trip to the Czech Republic is anything but meaningless. In fact, the next 36 hours or so is going to be absolutely crucial for Lennon and his Celtic future.
A win in Prague could be used as a springboard
After Sparta’s 4-1 dismantling of Celtic in Glasgow at the start of the month, not many are expecting a major performance in the away game. If anything there’s a bit of dread about it.
Fans will be sick of hearing about trying to build some momentum with the next game, but so long as Lennon remains in his post, that’s all we can hope for. A win in Prague tomorrow night barely repairs a thing, but it allows Lennon the chance to give himself a springboard ahead of a host of winnable fixtures in the Premiership nd domestic cup competitions.
You can say this is a game of insignificance, but not for the manager. If he loses this one then it will be only two wins in nine games – a shocking stat for any Celtic manager to have. It could even be his last if the board finally react to the growing fan pressure on him.
Yet it’s not just the game itself that’s important for Lennon tomorrow – how he conducts himself on his media duties both before and after the match is huge. It feels like fans don’t want to hear any from him these days, but he has to start learning to be more self-critical. We compared his comments at the weekend to how the Livingston boss Gary Holt explained his club’s recent struggles – it was chalk and cheese in terms of self-analysis.
If he can bring himself to come out and lay some blame at himself whilst also acknowledging he needs to sort things out quickly, it may buy him a fraction more time from the support. Not all of them, but it’s better than being overly-defensive and bullish in tone – that just isolates more of the few who still back him.
Everything about the next 36 hours is crucial for the Lennon camp and therefore crucial for Celtic too. This game in Prague is anything but meaningless.