Tony Watt has hinted that Neil Lennon lied to him about his future at Celtic when he left Parkhead for Lierse on loan.
Lennon signed Watt from Airdrie back in 2011, with the striker shooting himself to fame with his winner against Barcelona a year later in the Champions League. Following on from that goal, Watt continued to be in and out of the side, scoring a total of eight goals for the club in 34 appearances (Transfermarkt).
Watt, who now plays with Motherwell, had a spell with Lierse on loan before permanently leaving Parkhead for Standard Liege. And it was as he was leaving Glasgow for that initial temporary spell in Belgium that saw him have a chat with Lennon.
And speaking in the Scottish Sun, Watt has stated that what was said to his face and then to the cameras were two different stories.
“Lenny said he’d bring me back, they just needed someone out the door first. Then in the press that night it says ‘we’re not bringing him back, just let him learn over there’.
“I was like ‘that doesn’t sound like what you said to me earlier!’”
Lennon always backed Watt
In fairness to Lennon, he backed Watt in the media on countless occasions after his move to Lierse. Speaking to the BBC after he scored on his debut for the Belgian outfit, the Celtic manager said he was out on loan so he could come back a better player and ready to break through into the first-team on a regular basis.
The Celtic manager wouldn’t have had any reason not to want Watt to be a success. That he didn’t will always be on the player himself.
Indeed, there was a spell when Watt was in the Celtic team regularly under the Northern Irishman. Lennon gave Watt 28 appearances during the 2012/13 season (Transfermarkt). That’s evidence enough to show Lennon had his back.
The fact that Watt has gone on and played for nine different clubs in the seven years since leaving Celtic perhaps shows the struggles the striker has gone through since his Parkhead departure.
Now he finds himself with Motherwell – his fourth Scottish Premiership club. Stints with Hearts and St Johnstone have come and gone, with Watt still having something to prove.
Whatever happened between himself in Lennon, however, he can’t say the manager didn’t back him in public.