Celtic’s Seville number one Rab Douglas has questioned those who didn’t want Neil Lennon as manager.
There was an undoubtedly sizable element of the Hoops fan-base that questioned the appointment. Celtic had just come off a Brendan Rodgers era that took the club to new heights domestically. It set the standard, and for some, the appointment of Lennon represented a step backward.
But Lennon certainly has his arguments too. The Northern Irishman managed to guide Celtic to their third straight treble last season. He’s also been our most successful manager in Europe since Gordon Strachan, taking Celtic into the last-16 at a time when UEFA started looking to close the door to clubs like ourselves.
Douglas, of course, played with Lennon between 2000 and 2005. And, speaking about his former team-mate in the Daily Record, Douglas can’t understand any negative reaction to the appointment.
“I find it strange”
“I find it strange – staggering actually – that some people still try to find fault with him. What more could he have done other than what he did towards the end of the last campaign?
“What do people really expect these days from a manager who took over at pretty short notice? Lenny is a Celtic man and a club legend. It was funny the way it worked out leaving Hibs the way he did and then going back to Celtic, but he took every-thing in his stride. I’m delighted for Neil to be there now on a permanent basis. He’s a good pal.
“He was on a hiding to nothing stepping in towards the end of last season to replace Rodgers. There was so much hype but he just gets on with it. The league was there to be won and he did it. It was the same with the Scottish Cup.”
Rab Douglas correct in all but one thing
You can’t really argue with most of big Rab’s comments here. He’s right in that Lennon came to Parkhead and won everything the fans demanded. He came in at a time of uncertainty and “steadied the ship” as the saying goes.
But at the end of the day, many fans weren’t happy with the performance levels. It’s not fair to point to those who were pessimistic about Lennon’s appointment and act as though there was nothing to be disgruntled about.
On a weekly basis towards the end of last season, we were a bit of a brutal watch. That’s not having a go, that’s just an honest view of how we were playing. It clearly wasn’t Lennon’s team, and now he has the chance to build his own as Douglas touches on. But we still had good players at the club. Like it or not, some of the displays should’ve been better, particularly at Ibrox, Easter Road, and Dens Park in particular.
Fans have a right to an opinion, regardless of what it is
Everyone is backing Lenny ahead of the new campaign. He’s already done some work on the squad, and he confirmed to the Daily Record that there is more to come too. He’s doing his best to put his own stamp on things, and supporters will be pleased to see him being backed.
But fans had a right to question the appointment after Rodgers’ departure. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Rodgers is a better manager than Lennon. That is undoubted. Rodgers dominated Scotland in a way that hadn’t ever been done before. Treble after treble and big win after big win. It was a stunning two-and-a-half years from him before his sudden betrayal.
And the decision to go with Lennon, who came across as an easy option for the Celtic board, is what frustrated many. As mentioned before, we all back Neil and hope he has an even better campaign than Rodgers did last season. But nobody should act as though the pessimists didn’t have a point. It’s now down to Lenny to convince he IS the man for the job.