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‘IT’S BEEN TOUGH, NO QUESTION’: LENNY REVEALS RIVALS’ SUPPORT

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NEIL LENNON has revealed he received support from rival managers to help through his torrid time when Celtic struggled earlier in the season.

The Hoops boss was on the receiving end of some fierce criticism as the champions won only two games out of 12 in their worst sequence of results in years.

Lennon saw the club knocked out of both the Champions League and the Europa League after a series of disastrous results while lowly Ross County also inflicted their first domestic Cup loss in 36 outings with a shock 2-0 win at Parkhead in November.

The champions, bidding for a historic tenth consecutive title, dropped 16 points off the pace during an extended spell of indifferent form.

However, a 3-2 victory over Lille – and the introduction of fresh blood in players such as David Turnbull and Ismaila Soro – gave the side an new impetus that has seen the quadruple treble clinched with a penalty-kick shoot-out win over Hearts where rookie keeper Conor Hazard emerged as the unlikely Hampden hero with two dramatic saves.

There have also been four Premiership successes in a row with 12 points sealed following victories over Kilmarnock (2-0), Ross County (2-0), Hamilton Accies (3-0) and Dundee United (3-0).

A MAN ALONE…Neil Lennon cuts a sad figure during Celtic’s struggle.

Now Scotland’s title kings are looking forward to tomorrow afternoon’s visit to Ibrox to take on Steven Gerrard’s outfit as they attempt to extract revenge for October’s 2-0 flop in the east end of Glasgow.

It has been an extraordinary about-turn in fortunes for the manager and his players and Lennon reflected on the hard times as he told Sky Sports News: “It’s been tough, no question – there’s been a lot of hysteria, a lot of over-reaction.

“It’s almost like you have a few bad games and you should be out the door, the players are rubbish, that’s just modern football.

“You see it everywhere. Frank Lampard has a couple of losses and everyone is questioning him when he’s been absolutely superb. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is always on the edge, Jose Mourinho has his ups and downs. I just think it’s the modern-day life of the manager.

“I got a lot of support from other managers, top managers in the game, and it galvanised me.

“You know your players, you know you can get more out of them and slowly but surely we’re doing that.”

* CQN wishes all our readers a Happy New Year and we hope 2021 brings you all you could hope for – on and off the pitch. Please stay safe.

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