UNDER-FIRE Neil Lennon insists Celtic are not in crisis – despite going four league games without a win for the first time in TWENTY years.
The Hoops have lost 1-0 at Ibrox and drawn 1-1 with Hibs last week and Livingston twice, 0-0 on Saturday and 2-2 last night to equal the dismal sequence registered under caretaker boss Kenny Dalglish after John Barnes had been sacked following the Scottish Cup exit against Inverness Caley Thistle.
Lennon saw his side’s Champions League hopes extinguished by unseeded Ferencvaros in Glasgow in August, they slumped to four defeats in six Europa League group ties and were knocked out of the Betfred League Cup by lowly Ross County at Parkhead before the turn of the year.
The misery has extended into 2021 with nine points dropped out of a possible 12 with any remote chances of achieving a historic tenth consecutive championship disappearing long before January is out.
Nir Bitton was red-carded for a crazy challenge on Alfredo Morelos in Govan and skipper Scott Brown was dismissed against Livi in West Lothian only five minutes after coming on as a late substitute.
To the fans, it has been the season from hell, but Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “The club isn’t a shambles, far from it. It’s not in crisis off the field.
“The board have been magnificent, they’ve presided over nine titles in a row, a quadruple treble.
“That’s unheard of any in era of football. People need to take a step back and put a perspective on it.”
RED FOR GO…Scott Brown looks stunned as referee Willie Collum sends him off.
Criticism has been mounting on the beleaguered Irishman and even his former team-mate John Hartson has told him it is time to go, as CQN reported.
Lennon, who has also fired back at Andy Walker in recent days, said: “I don’t care (about pundits). Taken a battering from who? Pundits are entitled to give their opinion, I don’t mind.
“That’s what they’re paid to do, but I don’t have to believe it, adhere to it or listen to it.
“My conscience is perfectly clear, my belief in my professionalism and the work that I do is completely clear.
“This club has been at the top for a long, long time.
“We are going through a difficult season. There’s an expectancy to win 10 In a row, but it’s never guaranteed.
“Even when we won eight, people were talking about 10 when we hadn’t won nine.
“We had to go and win nine, we did that and there was a lot of expectancy going into the season, but we’ve been disappointing.”
Frustrated Celtic followers may use a stronger term as they look at a league table with Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit 20 points ahead.