When Celtic come up against Hibs on Sunday, one of the players who will be attempting to stop the Hoops from finding the back of the net is Ryan Porteous.
The Hibs centre-back is one of the brightest prospects in Scottish football. Porteous recently paid tribute to Celtic boss Neil Lennon, who gave him his Hibernian debut whilst Lennon was at Easter Road.
“He was brilliant with me. He gave me an opportunity when I didn’t think I would get one” Porteous said, as reported by the Scotsman.
The player then identified what Lennon does to make players improve their game.
“Makes good players even better”
“He’s that kind of guy who just makes you believe you’re the best player. He makes good players even better by improving their mentality.”
“Improving their mentality” – those three words from Porteous are very telling. Lennon has certainly done that with his Celtic players this season.
He has taken a team that has won their last 10 domestic trophies in a row and managed to improve them. Celtic hadn’t won a group stage in Europe before this season, Lennon changed all that. The Hoops hadn’t ever won in Italy before this season – Lennon changed that too.
His man-management style, which Porteous has identified has been key to the success that the Hoops have had this season, particularly in Europe.
Hoops have been well motivated so far this season
Lennon must make his squad feel that they are the best players in the Europa League, and should have no fear about who they play. The superb results might well be down to how well he has motivated the side.
Last season, when Lennon took over from Brendan Rodgers, the football wasn’t great. It was all about making sure the Hoops won the treble – which they did. Now that he had a chance to work with his Celtic players for a full pre-season, he has dramatically improved the football the team has played.
Porteous has identified what makes Lennon a good manager. The Hoops boss is certainly showing those attributes so far this season.