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Lennon blames ‘a million other non-football’ issues for his Celtic demise as he angles for a return

Three years on from leaving Celtic Neil Lennon is angling for a return in any capacity.

Up until season 2020/21 the Irishman was one of the most admired and successful Celts of this century, the events of that season and subsequently have greatly damaged his reputation and legacy.

It seems that everything bar Lennon was at fault in the Lockdown season, players wanting to leave, new signings failing to settle and unknown factors in the background that were outwith the control of the manager.

There were certainly strange anomalies and reactions to Lockdown restrictions between Glasgow’s two major clubs but no one at Celtic was prepared to highlight what had been going on.

Deciding on a training trip to Dubai was one of the worst decisions ever made by Celtic, even more so when more sever lockdown restrictions were being put in place in January 2021.

Pictures of Lennon poolside drinking beer aren’t what fans that paid for Celtic TV Season Tickets wanted to view as a historic SPFL title is chucked away.

After a brief stint in Cyprus alongside media work Lennon is back in management with Rapid Bucharest.

For whatever reasons he has given an interview to BBC Scotland with no hint of regret as he angles for a future return to Celtic.

You don’t know if people would want you back.

I’m ploughing my own furrow now. I had 14 years at Celtic and won 10 titles out of 14, that wasn’t bad. Three I lost on the last day of the season as a player and a manager and the one I lost heavily was during Covid.

My annoyance was people couldn’t really see that it wasn’t all down to coaching, team tactics, team selection, it was down to a million other things that were going on that caused the problems that weren’t football related.

That annoyed me, considering my record previously but if an opportunity comes to work at Celtic again in some capacity I’d have to give it serious consideration because I love the club.

Lennon, Brown, McGregor, Rodgers, Celtic

Lennon seems reluctant to discuss the million other non-football related things that impacted on season 20/21 which prevents fans from making fuller judgements.

When training resumed Lennon looked badly out of shape after around three months of Lockdown. While players were given fitness programmes from the club it seems that their manager let himself go, as did Leigh Griffiths.

With no new signings added to the squad Griffiths trained at Lennoxtown but was left out of the squad for Loughbrough and a couple of friendly matches in France.

The Boli Bolingoli incident was followed by losing at home to Ferencvaros, without a striker in the squad and an infamous Lennon blast after losing out to the Hungarian side in a Champions League qualifier.

Rather than accept responsibility for his role in a defeat similar to those at home to Cluj and Copenhagen, Lennon turned every player into a target by saying that there were players in the team that didn’t want to be at Celtic.

No-one was sold before the transfer window closed. David Turnbull and Shane Duffy arrived after losing to Ferencvaros followed by the bizarre loan deal for Diego Laxalt.

After a short upturn in results with Celtic winning eight matches on the bounce the wheels came off spectacularly in autumn.

One win in 11 matches killed the season off with that run including four consecutive home defeats for the first time since the fifties, with the club deep in denial about a potentially historic season falling apart some fans left their homes to protest following a 2-0 home defeat from Ross County in the League Cup.

Lennon and the board dug their heels in, Celtic fans were criticised as entitled as a club insider spoke to favoured reporter Keith Jackson.

Winning the Scottish Cup on penalties against Championship side Hearts covered some of the cracks but a new year defeat at Ibrox followed by the shambles that was Dubai during Lockdown killed off any hopes of 10-in-a-row and drove a firm wedge between Lennon and the supporters.

A ‘managerial review’ concluded that Lennon was the best possible manager that Celtic could have but after another defeat to Ross County, who had sacked Stuart Kettlewell despite his League Cup victory, Lennon and the club decided that it was time for a break.

In various interviews Lennon has spoken about other issues without going into detail and has never taken any responsibility for his role in an astonishing collapse. From winning four trebles Celtic finished the 20/21 season trophyless, were humiliated in Europe and finished the season with a skeleton squad of half a dozen players. Liam Shaw was signed for the future.

Had Lennon owned up that he got things badly wrong in terms of signings and squad management there would have been a degree of respect given his past successes at the club as player and manager.

With an eight month stint in Cyprus followed by his new job in Romania it looks like UK clubs have decided to steer well clear of someone who did lead Celtic into the last 16 of the Champions League and won five trophies on the bounce when he returned to replace Brendan Rodgers.

Perhaps Lennon is holding it all back for a dynamic book but for many fans he is tained for his role in the events of 2020/21, his failure to admit to his own role and his unfaltering backing for a board of directors whose ambition is set at finishing one point clear in the SPFL.

In Europe Celtic are almost an irrelevance while the board, Chairman and CEO congratulate themselves, with Lennon forever defending and backing them. Especially the Chairman who twice promoted Lennon from Caretaker to getting the job of manager on a permanent basis.

CLICK HERE for Keevins performs incredible u-turn on Rodgers as he accuses Celtic fans.

CLICK HERE for Santa Ponsa celebrates Celtic’s victory in the Glasgow Derby.

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1 Comment

  • by William Melvin
    Posted June 8, 2024 6:21 pm 0Likes

    He used up all the goodwill he gained for his previous travails in his various roles at Celtic when he blamed the fans for us not doing 10iar !
    As you say,he us STILL loathe to criticise the bunch of parasites lurking in the boardroom at Celtic Park just in case………
    I don’t wish the guy ill and hope he has a good life but he just turned out to be another hero with feet of clay.

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