I listened to Neil Lennon speak after our last two games with some regret. He has been drawn into justifying the form of a team on the verge of 8-in-a-row, not having lost a goal in 8 hours of football, but who are struggling to put the ball in the net at their usual rate.
Neil was given a great opportunity, having fallen out with Hibernian, he could scarcely imagine being Celtic manager a few weeks later. But the old adage, Never follow Sinatra, holds true. Better to become Celtic manager after Tony Mowbry, or John Barnes, than Martin O’Neill or Brendan Rodgers.
Gordon Strachan will attest that it is hard to live up to the standards of a legend, no matter how many times you out-perform him in the Champions League or in the rate you accumulate domestic titles. Neil is going through a bit of the same.
A team which looked listless before transformational halftime changes at Murrayfield in October, is struggling to spark. The case for changes in the squad is evident, the fact that a manager who took over on 26th February had nothing to do with this situation, should be crystal clear.
Making the right decisions in the summer is a multi-layered question. We want the best manager we can get, but we also have to make the squad as ready as possible for the qualifiers. We want to qualify for the Champions League and we must – must – win 9 and then 10-in-a-row.
This is not a normal summer where we appoint a new manager. The history books will prominently record what happens over the next two seasons. I am sure everyone at Celtic is acutely aware they need to avoid what happened across the city in season 1997-98.
All of these questions need to be parked for the time being. We have a manager and squad who are within a point of winning the league, and a Cup Final of delivering the treble treble. Neil is doing very well wearing another man’s overalls and does not need to answer for the fact that they are torn.