The clock is ticking for Neil Lennon

Foto: Jason Cairnduff / Action Images via Reuters

David Weatherston

9. desember 2020

CelticKOMMENTARScottish Premiership

It has been about 22 months since Neil Lennon answered the wishes of Celtic chairman Peter Lawwell and took over the permanent job as Celtic manager, taking over from the departed Brendan Rodgers.

His job was simple, guide Celtic to their 8th title in a row, and ultimately lead Celtic to the desired ten in a row. Both Celtic (1965-1974) and Rangers(1988-1997) have managed to win nine league titles in a row, and this opportunity for ten seemed like a foregone conclusion under Rodgers.

Saken fortsetter under videoen

However, despite winning the eighth, then being awarded the ninth when well in control pre Covid, this season has started terribly, and Lennon is under severe pressure.

Ever since Lennon took over it has seemed like Celtic have slowly been getting worse, and rumours of poor professionalism, lack of tactical training and in squad fighting have been coming more and more to light.

These problems are not an issue for a winning team, but this season Celtic have not been a winning team, and worse than that, Rangers look like they have become by far the best team in the country. The contrast between Lennon and Gerrard is quite obvious to look at them, but the biggest contrast has been the way the teams have played.

Rangers having played two games more than Celtic currently sit 13 points clear of Celtic having dropped just four points in 16 games. Celtic meanwhile have dropped 11 points in the 14 games they have played. They have also scored 10 fewer, and conceded 11 more goals than their rivals.

Celtic have been humiliated in Europe, first by Ferencvaros in the Champions League Qualifiers, and more recently twice by Sparta Prague, losing 4-1 home and away. Put simply, it isn’t good enough for a club the size and with the budget of Celtic.

They have drawn with St Johnstone, Hibernian, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, and were well beaten in the first Old Firm of the season, 0-2 at home to Rangers. Worse was to follow in the League Cup, humbled at home to Ross County, the first time Celtic have lost in a domestic cup competition since Rangers beat them in the 2015-2016 Scottish cup semi final.

All of this has left Lennon hanging by a thread to his job, and the supporters have been out in force demanding he be sacked.

There have been ugly scenes in Glasgow with fans rioting outside the stadium and supporter clubs showing their lack of belief in Lennon. After winning everything for so long, it isn’t easy to lose, but the way Celtic are doing it is what is making the fans so angry.

They can see the ten in a row slipping away, and the style that Rangers are doing it in is tough to watch for Celtic fans. Rangers are through to the Europa League last 32, and are dominating domestically, and Celtic need to do something quickly.

However, with all of that being said, Lennon still remains, and the board have given them his backing into the New Year at least. Celtic have five league games in December, followed by a trip to Ibrox to play Rangers on the 2nd of January, Lennon has until then to save his job, and for Celtic supporters, they have to hope that the ten in a row is still possible by then, otherwise the trophy will be heading to their biggest rivals, and Steven Gerrard will be a legend in the blue side of Glasgow.