Neil Lennon is an unhappy man today.
The Celtic manager has come out swinging in the wake of another poor result on Sunday, blaming media-led narratives for the speculation about his job and future at the club.
One aspect of the coverage he’s taken particular issue with is the social media ‘conspiracy theories’ of disorder behind-the-scenes, of rumours regarding dressing room unrest.
As quoted by Glasgow Live, he said: “I don’t feel under any major pressure. Am I unhappy with this week’s work? Yes, because we would like to play well and win.
“But I think we are getting better, stronger and have a lot to look forward to and I think I should be the man in charge of it.
“We go through a little spell and conspiracy theories come out about dressing room break ups, fall outs, all that nonsense. It is fake news. I sound like Donald Trump now but it is just all fake news.”
First of all, let me be clear. I’m actually glad the manager has come out swinging. It’s reminiscent of the old Neil Lennon we’ve been missing.
He’s more than entitled to have a pop at what he perceives as unfair criticism.
He also didn’t miss pundits like Kris Commons, who have been nothing but a thorn in the side of Celtic all season. That’s another win for the manager today.
However, if he doesn’t want rumours and theories to circulate about the drama behind the scenes, then perhaps he needs to take a look closer to home.
Remember his post-Ferencvaros interview?
He said following the Champions League exit, as quoted by The Herald: “There are some players who may want to leave and have made inroads into that in the last six months or so.
“If they are making waves to leave the club they are obviously not committed. I have just put this out there because it has been bugging me for a long, long time. If they don’t want to be here we have to do something.”
In the following days, we had reports of agents asking for exit valuations for certain players and all sorts of rumours about who doesn’t want to be at Celtic.
Yet no action was taken by the manager. Likely most of the players he was talking about that night are still being named his starting eleven.
Let’s not forget also that, recently, much of the unrest debate was sparked by the manager’s fury at his team vs Rangers being leaked and people inside the club trying to ‘do us in’ (BBC Scotland).
So it’s unfair to single out supporters who are concerned about what’s happening at Celtic Park and worried that the relationship between Lennon and the players might not be what it needs to be.
Nonsense WhatsApp rumours and social media posts will inevitably make their way around the support, but it’s straightforward to spot which of those are nonsense – basically all of them.
And we, of course, take the manager at his word today and trust him when he says nothing is wrong.
However, for me, there are still major questions about the direction of Celtic under Lennon.
We’re all hoping they start to be answered on the pitch. That’s where shutting up your doubters matters.