3 tough questions Neil Lennon must answer upon Celtic return

By John McGinley

January 17, 2021

Neil Lennon is on his way back to Celtic tomorrow, and he has some questions to answer.

Lennon and assistant manager John Kennedy will take training at Lennoxtown after their period of self-isolation.

The Bhoys boss hasn’t faced outside media since the immediate aftermath of the disappointing defeat to Rangers at the start of the month.

As you’ll know, a lot has happened at the club since then.

The Dubai debacle engulfed Celtic, resulting in 16 players and staff being barred from action against Hibernian and Livingston.

Secondly, the club have dropped points in those two matches following some bizarre team selections and tactics in the wake of said chaos.

That’s resulted in the league title race being all but over, leaving Celtic with little to look forward to for the remainder of the season.

Yet there’s zero indication the club are thinking of relieving him from his duties. He is very likely to be in the dugout against Livingston this Wednesday.

What are the burning questions that need to be answered this week?

What are the Celtic aims this season now the league is effectively gone?

Celtic may keep deluding themselves into thinking they are still in a title race, but the reality is that Rangers are long gone.

Even if we win all of our games in hand and beat them twice in upcoming derbies, we’d still be six points behind.

You may be thinking that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a huge gap with Rangers only have 14 games remaining.

Celtic in action vs Livingston / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Lennon must now give guidance on what Celtic’s aims are for the rest of the season. We can’t waste this time wallowing. It needs to be used to plan and strategise for the future.

Reality needs to set in and quickly.

Whether that involves playing more youngsters or sidelining wantaway players, or any other radical team selection steps – it needs to be communicated.

With the Scottish Cup not even guaranteed to continue, everything at Celtic should now be focused on 2021/22. Anything else is using up precious time.

Has Neil Lennon been given a timeline on the outcome of his January review?

One of the big questions hanging over Celtic in general right now is whether a January review of Neil Lennon’s position will occur.

Celtic said in a statement on December 7th: “Whilst it has been suggested that it is time for a change, at this stage in the season the Board believes that Neil and his management team are best placed to turn the team’s performances around and lead us on to success. The Board continues to work closely with Neil and his team to support them as they seek to do so and progress will be reviewed in the new year.”

Since then, the Bhoys showed initial progress, beating Lille and going on a mini-winning-run in the league.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has questions to answer / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

However, a bruising defeat to Rangers followed before the Dubai debacle embarrassed the club on a national scale. Two more draws leave Celtic worse off than when this initial statement was made.

Has Lennon been told when this review will take place? Has it already taken place? It’s difficult to answer questions on his own future, but with the club stubborn and silent, that’s the situation we are in.

Now things have deteriorated further, is it time to walk away from Celtic?

The manager has been defiant this season in the face of criticism. He’s regularly stated he still thinks he’s the best man for the job and that this team can turn things around.

All of that has gotten away from him, at this point.

Everyone knows that Celtic can decide on his future, but should Neil Lennon actually take matters into his own hands and walk away?

Back on November 25th, Lennon told The Daily Record: “Absolutely not (no intention of walking away just now).

What will happen at Celtic next? / (Photo by Gary Hutchison / SNS Group via Getty Images)

“Look, if things deteriorated, you might have to hold your hands up. But, at the minute, I’ve got no intentions of quitting. I don’t think I need to. I don’t think I even need to think about it.

“It’s all the outside noise that’s affecting other people. It’s not affecting me. I don’t feel under any pressure at all. I don’t feel that I should be under any pressure, either.”

Well, I’d say things have deteriorated, so it’s time for the manager to revisit these comments.

Will we get answers from him this week?

In other news, Celtic have handled the situation of Scott Robertson strangely this week.