FORMER Celtic hero Chris Sutton has reacted to today’s banner attack on manager Neil Lennon outside Parkhead.
The one-time England international striker came out fighting against the call for his former team-mate to quit his post at the champions.
Lennon has been in the direct line of criticism with the team winning only two of their previous eight games while slipping 11 points behind Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit in the Premiership although they have two games in hand.
Ironically, the timing of the unfurling of the banner comes when the Irishman is within 90 minutes of becoming only the fourth manager in the club’s history to win the treble.
The legendary Jock Stein claimed the first in 1966/67 and repeated the feat in 1968/69.
Martin O’Neill, with Lennon, a £6million arrival from Leicester City, playing a pivotal role in the club’s midfield, replicated the achievement in his debut campaign in 2000/01 while Brendan Rodgers became the third Hoops gaffer to celebrate a clean sweep in his first term in 2016/17. He staged an action replay the following year and added the League Cup in December 2018 before quitting two months later.
Lennon took over to guide the team to their eighth successive title and a Scottish Cup victory and he continued his success last season with the ninth championship in a row plus a League Cup, beating the Govan club in the Final last December.
Now the boss and his team face Hearts in the delayed Scottish Cup Final at Hampden on December 20 where he can collect a historic personal hat-trick of silverware while leading the club to a phenomenal quadruple treble.
Asked for his views on the bizarre timing of the criticism of Lennon, Sutton, speaking on the Daily Record Podcast, said: “I thought that the stuff with the banner outside the stadium was just a bunch of idiots, I really mean that because what good can it do?
“What positive does it do? We all love the game, we all have different opinions about things. I’ve got a lot of Celtic-supporting friends, they have texted me saying that ‘Neil Lennon has been a great servant to the club, great player, he’s had great success as a manager and it is time for him to move on’ in their opinion.
“And you know what, I understand that and I understand the frustration with a lot of fans out there at the moment. They’ve had it so good for a long, long time, but you know the stuff, the banner outside the ground this morning, there was a sense of entitlement and just spoiled.
“I don’t want to swear, but I just don’t get that, I don’t get the upside of that. There wasn’t one. It’s totally disrespectful to a guy who, the manager who has served the club with aplomb.
“I’ve had an association with the club for a long, long time. I actually think what happened outside the ground is shameful, unnecessary, unwarranted.”
Sutton added: “I feel sad for Neil with this as much as anything. I actually do, what he has actually given to the club. You know he has toiled for years and worked hard as a player, given his absolute all, his heart and soul to Celtic Football Club and then for people to treat him like that.
“If you want him to go, then fine. That’s an opinion, but I think that there is a way to do it and to do it with a banner outside the stadium as they did this morning, I thought was despicable.”
Lennon and his players are back in action again tomorrow night when they take on Sparta Prague in the Europa League Group H match in the Czech Republic.