Report: Celtic dressing room is split, many "deeply frustrated"

By Euan Davidson

January 9, 2021

The Celtic dressing room is divided, according to reports in The Athletic.

Neil Lennon already had a difficult job. The Bhoys boss already has a 19-point gap to contend with at the top of the Scottish Premiership (BBC). There are multiple players linked with transfers or soon to be out of contract.

Now it appears the Celtic dressing room is split, according to The Athletic’s Kieran Devlin. In a wide-ranging article, Celtic expert Devlin indicated that players were either “deeply frustrated”, or confused by the season so far.

The disconnect of feeling between the Celtic players and the supporters was demonstrated by controversial protests. There are also indications that standards have slipped under the current regime.

The article suggests what many Celtic supporters already believed; things just aren’t as good at Lennoxtown. With the Bhoys out of Europe and the Betfred Cup, while miles behind in the league, it’s hardly a situation conducive to squad harmony.

Togetherness? Celtic’s Scottish Cup win helped squad morale / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic dressing room split over ambitions

Devlin also confirmed that Celtic weren’t fielding significant bids for some of their top players:

“There was no official bid made for Ajer, with AC Milan keenly interested but not able to match Celtic’s valuation. There was also only one bid for Ntcham, and it was also below the club’s valuation.”

Similarly, “Odsonne Edouard was not for sale under any circumstances”. French Eddy’s recent agent change probably means that won’t be the case this summer.

Most revealing, however, was the following admission:

“As the weeks passed and results deteriorated, that initial mood of mild upset worsened into exasperation. The protest after the League Cup defeat by Ross County in November, which featured some fans throwing missiles and chasing the cars of players and backroom staff, shocked and frightened some of the squad.

“Sources say they hadn’t previously realised the fans were as upset about Celtic’s recent form as the protests signalled.”

The recent defeat to Rangers “split the dressing room”. Devlin reports that some of the Celtic playing staff were disappointed rather than devastated. Others had their “confidence shattered” and were “very upset”.

All of this suggests that some of the Celtic squad aren’t entirely fussed about the club’s performances. You’d expect that the importance of 10IAR would be firmly in the minds of the players. If Devlin’s comments are anything to go by, that’s only the case for a select number.

Neil Lennon greets jubilant fans in Rome / (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Concerning times for Celtic supporters

Devlin, formerly of The Cynic, is a well-connected Celtic journalist. Not giving away any sources, there is real credence to his reporting. That being said, this makes for hard reading.

Neil Lennon’s main attributes are man-management and creating a siege mentality in the dressing room. Despite that, it’s obvious that this Celtic squad are pulling in different directions.

The focus and determination aren’t there for many in this team, and that only confirms the widely-held suspicions of Celtic fans.

Neil Lennon and his coaching team have work to do. If any good comes from the dubious Dubai trip, here’s hoping it’s a united focus in the squad.