Celtic can't afford to dodge the Neil Lennon question just because Peter Lawwell is leaving

By John McGinley

January 29, 2021

It’s clear change is in the air at Celtic Park after Peter Lawwell’s retirement was announced earlier today.

However, one urgent issue has yet to be addressed by the club – the fabled ‘new year review’ of Neil Lennon’s position as manager.

Many fans are calling this the ‘January review’ which, to be fair to Celtic, was never promised.

Their statement in December backing the manager actually said: “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.”

While they never technically gave themselves a January deadline, Celtic are definitely now taking liberties with the spirit of what they pledged.

The phrase ‘in the new year’ implies an early 2021 call on the Neil Lennon question – yet they continue to dodge it.

Now, the club have pushed the reset button on the CEO position and a period of upheaval is on the way.

Hopefully, it leads to a new era of success and prosperity.

That won’t happen with the current manager in charge.

Celtic must tell fans what the plans for Neil Lennon are

Celtic can’t afford to stay silent on this issue. Every moment with the current manager in charge tells supporters that what’s gone on this season is acceptable.

We need a clean break and to acknowledge that the only thing that matters is building towards next season.

The Scottish Premiership is gone. The Scottish Cup likely won’t be finished until late this year. There is no benefit to continuing with Lennon and his favourites in the Celtic first-team.

No player has progressed this season, with active regression apparent in a number of previously top performers. Not all of that is the manager’s fault, but he ultimately carries the can.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Even a caretaker, with the remit of playing those who have a long-term future at Celtic, would be preferable to the status quo.

Why persist with loan players such as Shane Duffy and Mohamed Elyounoussi? Why not give prospects such as Stephen Welsh and Mikey Johnston game time instead?

At the very least, the club should be following up on their ‘review’ comment with clear communication. Results since they made that statement have been far from good enough.

If they want Neil Lennon in charge until the end of the season then have the guts to tell us and explain why.

In other news, an unusual Celtic kick-off time confirmed as Scottish Cup uncertainty rumbles on.