"Want to ask me about the game?"; Lennon's fiery exchange with BBC reporter before Livingston vs Celtic

By David Walton

January 20, 2021

Celtic manager Neil Lennon again didn’t seem happy with the line of questioning as he spoke to the BBC before Livingston vs Celtic (BBC Radio Scotland, 19:51)

So much focus has been put on the Hoops boss over the last 48 hours. Lennon’s return from self-isolation saw him produce a blistering press conference in which he took aim at the likes of Andy Walker, the Scottish Government, and other sections of the media (Glasgow Live).

With Celtic 21 points behind Rangers and having the season from hell, there’s a toxic atmosphere around the club. Lennon’s presser on Monday certainly didn’t help matters.

Tonight’s pre-match interview with the BBC could’ve, therefore, been used as a chance to hit the refresh button. However, from early on the Celtic boss ran out of patience with reporter Kenny MacIntyre.

“I absolutely stand by it”

When asked if he had anything to add to his Monday comments, Lennon said: “I covered everything I want to say. I absolutely stand by it. Listen, Kenny, I said everything I wanted to say on Monday. You want to ask me about the game? Then fine. There’s no point in dwelling on it because this is going to get mileage and run and run and run if you keep biting at me.”

BBC man MacIntyre then tried to ask whether Lennon had to cover the Monday comments with Lawwell. The Hoops boss responded with: “Kenny you’re still asking me about the interview. You got enough mileage out of it over the last couple of days. I’m giving my opinion on what I saw.  The protocols are in place as far as we’re concerned and they’re a different standard from what other teams do. We had to drive to the game tonight.”

When asked whether the club’s failure to publish the presser on social media was a sign they didn’t agree with the manager, Lennon said: “Maybe. I don’t control the social media side of the club. I’ve spoken to Peter about it and that’ll remain private.”

BBC appeared to frustrate Lennon ahead of Livingston vs Celtic

Lennon didn’t take long to get frustrated by questions on his presser. It shows the sheer emotion he has on the issues he discussed.

It’s also evident the Celtic boss is keen to put it all behind him. The only way to do that is by winning football matches, and that’s something we’re failing to do too often. Celtic are back on another winless run once again after three matches without a victory.

But some of these comments are difficult to ignore. It’s interesting that he hasn’t been given assurances from the board over his comments.

Neil Lennon before Livingston vs Celtic (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

If Peter Lawwell had agreed with Lennon and what he said, Neil would’ve been quick to say it. He’s never going to come out and say the chief executive of the club disagrees with him. So you can make your own mind up on that point.

Lennon also clearly isn’t backing down regarding his comments on Hamilton and St Johnstone’s lack of acceptable protocols in recent away matches. If the Celtic manager has reflected on his comments from Monday, he’s not come away with any regret.

On the pitch, however, he needs another run of immediate wins. As things stand, Celtic look good to do that tonight at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

In other news, Andy Walker has responded to Lennon on Sky Sports tonight.