Neil, Brendan and the risk-free dream appointment


I’m seeing a bit of “Neil Lennon cannot get the job now” comment after our capitulation at Ibrox this afternoon.  Brendan Rodgers got things equally wrong at Ibrox in December but no one was calling him the wrong man for the job.

If you think the primary issue Celtic have right now is tactical choice and team selection, you are overlooking what is staring you in the face.  Celtic are playing with a squad that has changed little since Ronny Deila days, despite the volume of new faces introduced to the club in the intervening period.  Seven of today’s starters and eight of last weeks’ were at the club under Ronny.

Ronny won two of our eight consecutive titles, but his final squad was in need of significant overhaul.  Three years on and Odsonne Edouard, Oliver Burke and Jonny Hayes are not going to significantly change things.

Neil could have played Scott Sinclair, but Scott has been dropped by both Neil and Brendan at various times over the last two seasons, there is no guarantee he would have made a difference today.  He could have risked Kieran Tierney, or perhaps James Forrest, but for a dead rubber when we have a treble treble to compete for?

Eye on the prize and the prize right now is the Scottish Cup.  And if you want a tip on who will be our next manager, it will be whoever we think will successfully improve the squad.  Whatever Neil’s chances are, I doubt they were influenced by today’s performance.  And if you believe any appointment is risk-free, dream on.

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  1. For the most part Lenny has had to deal with one game per week since he came in. I’ve now lost count of the amount of times he’s blamed a poor performance on tired legs.



    How does hope to cope with three games a week ?




    Paul knows me well, better than most of the people on here do. And Paul knows how much respect I have for him and this site.



    If you’re in doubt consider that I could just as easily attack this view through my own site but never have, and never will. Whenever CQN is mentioned on the blog it’s to praise this site.



    But Paul is an opinion maker. His word carries weight. I am, therefore, perfectly entitled to call it nonsense when that’s what he writes.

  3. huntlybhoy86 on

    I’m doing to cheer myself up with a couple of fantasies:



    1. Rafa is appointed and Gerrard gets found out once and for all by his “greatest ever gaffer”.



    2. Mourinho signs a two year deal with Clarke his assistant (as they were all those years ago) then Mourinho goes off to a bigger league once the 10 is secured and Clarke stays and takes us to 55.



    Funny thing is although these might seem like ludicrous scenarios 2 out of those 3 names could be attainable if DD really wants it.

  4. jinkyredstar on

    Today was quite simply unacceptable- losing annoys me – capitulation is intolerable!


    Paul has often written that if you give a player an excuse he will take it, 4G pitches for example. The pre defined excuse in yesterday’s article (paraphrase, this game doesn’t matter) should have been an early indication to us all. As should the premature break for the players after Pittodrie. Ask any athlete how difficult it is to ‘peak’ and you will discover that stopping and starting again is a serious challenge.


    I hope our team has not mentally left for the beach and i hope our Board do not have the slide rules out calculating just how little they can get away with spending. Let’s be very clear – this team could lose to Hearts and are in no shape to go for nine, never mind ten.


    We have a cynical calculating hierarchy, who are feathering their own nest.


    I am delighted with our achievements but see no indication that our Board share our passion.

  5. Chris Sutton



    Verified account





    2h2 hours ago




    Well done to Rangers by far the better team but when the pressure was off… no trophies but fair play 6 wins in a row…maybe a new DVD out Monday??

  6. huntlybhoy86 on

    By the way JamesForrest,



    I’ve seen you take a lot of stick on here and for the most part it seems unfair. I agree 100% on your position regarding NFL and the vacant managerial post. We all want what’s best for Celtic and some of us are quite rightly anxious that we (well, the board) will blow a once in a lifetime opportunity.



    What frustrates me is all this “Neil Lennon gets the club” nonsense. What’s that got to do with coaching football players and making them better? Did Wim Jansen GET the club? Could Guardiola tell you anything about City’s history or ethos before he arrived? Did he GET the club? It’s a lot of crap. Someone with NFL’s CV should be nowhere near the Celtic job in 2019 if we are as big a club as we say we are. People trying to justify the appointment because “it’s Lenny” are doing everyone a disservice.

  7. succulentlambstinks on

    Should have won this league by at lest 15+ points. Could end up only won by 3 points. But hey big deal right !


    Next season Lennon manager boring clueless tactics aided by cling/on Kennedy and buttons to spend as Peter bonus goes all out to beat his bonus from this season.


    Huns get hungrier and win more next season and stop 9 in a row. But hey big deal right !

  8. We all recall Deila coming in and and criticising the fitness and training regime under Lennon.



    Those criticisms have more weight now having seen this Celtic team develop ‘tired legs’ under Lenny. Rogic in particular looks like he may never get near fit under Lennon.

  9. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Succulent lamb @ 4:19 pm



    “H*ns get hungrier and win more next season”.



    With all due respect, what is the basis for this prediction?

  10. AN DUN – I was thinking the same thing. Before Christmas, we were playing games every 3-4 days. Now it is one a week yet in every post-match interview Lenny has said more or less the same thing to excuse poor performances:


    1. He won’t tinker with their set up as they are used to playing a certain way


    2. We have a good group of players who have been great for most of the season but the poor souls are now tired.



    So for three months we have had a manager who is content to let the team play the way old manager wanted rather than address the shortcomings that he had identified.


    He said in his first week he wanted to put an end to the tippy tappy stuff at the back – well anyone watching today saw that we were still doing exactly that.


    It’s a poor excuse to say the players cannot be coached to play a faster, more pressing game since taking over in February. How much time does he need?

  11. patmcgrathtakesapenalty on

    Taking consolation in a bottle of Californian merlot, Marylyn Merlot to be precise. In the light of eternity, this is a minor flicker of the light. We were feckless, it’s true, and we have let them think they are worthy of more than a “dead rubber”, end-of-season victory by the manner of our capitulation. Perhaps this can work to our advantage since man for man they do not match our squad but, because of today, they will strut through the close season thinking they have arrived, not simply as equals but as our superiors. That will make next season’s victories all the more satisfying.




    Excellent questions.



    To me, this assertion that he didn’t want to change the Rodgers system – a daft idea in itself as clubs have been playing against it for three years and know it inside out – was nothing more than giving himself an alibi for failure in the event he didn’t do enough.



    It’s a mark of self doubt. A top manager would have been doing things his way, from the start, all the better to get the credit when it all came good.



    It’s a worrying sign on its own.



    Totally agree about the fitness. It is one of the things that genuinely scares me most about him getting the gig. Training is not taken as seriously as it was under Brendan. The idea of footballers as athletes is going bye bye and we’ll pay a price for that in any long campaign.



    How many times already have you heard him tell the press he’s given them days off for good displays? I know Brendan took the whole team away as well when they wrapped the league up … but the week of a visit to Ibrox? It screams laxity, it screams lack of preperation and professionalism.

  13. onenightinlisbon on

    Neli full of excuses today, everyone to blame but himself. Who does that sound like?

  14. James Gang




    “Simple question, will today’s events help or hinder sevco – their players, fans and finances – as they look forward to next season and the next Glasgow derby?”




    It’s actually quite a complex question cos there’s, at least, 3 parts to it (players, fans and finances) but the most worrying part of your sentence was the Object- “next season AND next derby game)



    I worry about that because it overestimates the part this plays in winning a league. We beat them twice and they beat us twice- even Stevens- but we are still the Champions. There is no Old Firm Cup for coming on top in this particular fixture- it did not determine this league; it rarely does.



    As for your 3 part question



    players- those that stay may feel boosted by it but they were already boosted and boastful as they think this year’s results show they are competitive, which, in fact, they are. Competitive, but still league losers. Those of their squad that stay with them will try to use it to whistle in their darkness as losers but it will be no use to them when the next match comes around unless they can step up a gear or we can drop down one. Today’s result tells us the square root of nothing about how likely each event is. Only next season’s preparations, in terms of recruitment and training, will determine that.



    Their fans will be delighted, as they showed they were today. It was a roar of defiance and it will last until they see us raise a flag next week and realisation sets in again that they fell short. The bookies will, no doubt, shorten their odds on next year’s title BUT, in amongst all the other unknowns, the one thing I will guarantee is that, regardless of who our manager is or their’s, regardless of the squad make up come late July, we will be deserved favourites. Of course, being favourites guarantees nothing and neither does winning the last game, as today showed.



    To answer about their finances, you would need to be better informed about that dark topic than either you and I are. They won’t raise any more in Season Ticket sales- as they, like us, will sell out anyway. Their directors , who splashed out to fund Defoe and Davies in January will not think they got their money’s worth- no title and no trophies- so how much more have they kept back that they can give?



    The angrier are out in force today- they always are when we drop points. My so-called “glib” point is that we have celebrated less than we should have in this 8iar and potential Treble Treble era and we have complained more than the team deserved- Callum McGregor commented on this in the build up to the match and there was a survey of positive vs negative comments on each of the SPFL twitter accounts and we came in the bottom 3 or 4 of the 12 teams, below the treble losers Sevco even- I think with 33% positive to 66% negative comment about our club’s performance over this season.



    That is not all down to entitlement, though there is a fair bit of that too, but it’s part of the angst that will be even greater next year, as we enter the race to equal 9iar. There will be no procession; there never has been. every one of our titles was won by the sweat and ability of our players and management. We, as fans, will need to be more resilient next year and help to place less doubt in players’ minds.



    If we genuinely want to help we need to moan less and encourage more- help our players feed off our support.



    I remain extremely proud to have seen this period of our domestic dominance. I remain discouraged but not defeated by our also-ran status in Europe. And, above all, I remain encouraged that we have achieved what we have within the rules



    Let that never be forgotten.



    Now, off to see who wins the EPL prize- watching the last 10 minutes is enough for me

  15. HUNTLYBHOY86 – well said. We all “get” Celtic. Lenny’s a fan, we get that. He has paid a high price for it. We get that too.


    But for the love of God, when we appointed BR we made a statement to the world. We were moving up a level. A considerable level.


    We need a similarly ambitious appointment now.

  16. Paul



    Of course there are risks attached to the appointment of a new manager but the trick is to identify as many risks as possible and eliminate them and there are plenty of risks attached to the appointment of Lenny as manager.The team have appeared sluggish in games, we are struggling to score goals, team selection is erratic, the use of substitutes often mystifying and as for yesterday’s I’ll advised comments in the media about Sevco’s discipline problems and their fear of him, you have to ask if he ever learns. You do not have to give the opposition any motivation going into any of these games. I want it to be about the team, the players and not about a manager continually bumping his gums. We may have mixed feelings about Brendan Rodgers but he knew how to deal with the media. His teams could pass a ball also.



    Lawell can take the lazy, cheap option and appoint Lenny but he should dig out the footage of Ronny’s tenure to remind him of what the north tier of the Lisbon Lions stand looked like, take the huge banner out of storage because it will be needed the season after next and he should place an order for banners for the upper tiers of the north stand and Jock Stein stand as well.

  17. Have been trying to take a break from the blog but still dipped in and out



    AoW … keep doing what your doing, sad times, always in my thoughts



    Today’s “dead rubber” that seemingly isn’t a dead rubber once Celtic lose … I never want to lose against them and by the way some of the (over) reaction plenty might call them a new klub or Sevco or whatever but if a club like Spartans had managed 2 victories against us from 2012-2019 would there be the same panic (bullcrap) so sometimes some people are only fooling themselves with the old/new/future Huns ….



    As for the actual football … the team that wanted to win won



    Dodgy Dave the 2nd should increase the premium line for season tickets for next season … meanwhile Celtic should concentrate on beating Hearts the next fortnight for a possible TREBLE TREBLE … 9 trophies on the trot … let the noisy neighbours have their day with going for 9 wins on the trot which they will need to wait till August 2019 to achieve … Celtic can do the 9 trophies in May 2019



    I know what I prefer :-)



    These are still good times with the odd bad day

  18. Paul67



    The usual Neil Lennon bashers have been licking their lips since the day he was announced as caretaker, and if there was nothing St. Brendan could do at Ibrokes in his last attempt, then as sure as eggs is eggs, there was nothing ‘ a downsizing ‘ Neil Lennon could pull off.



    Even the players signed under Rodgers in January, were AWOL in all manners, just like the master, Inevitable CQN will fill up to Lennon bash, the clue is in the surname first, you’d swear some would scarifice the treble treble for his tenure.



    There is not a tactician in the world and certainly not one available to Celtic that could have stopped Sevco’s season high today, a pyrrhic victory.



    If you’d criticised last summer when we should have moved on to Team Two under Brendan Rodgers, you were more correct, but today has got little to do with Neil Lennon, Team Two for Rodgers, turned out to be Leicester.

  19. “There is not a tactician in the world and certainly not one available to Celtic that could have stopped Sevco’s season high today, a pyrrhic victory.”



    If you’re going to make excuses for Lennon make them good ones.



    That is pathetic.

  20. SFTB 4.33pm


    A lot of sense there. It is too easy to criticise and lose sight of the notion of a “supporter”. This is not to say that all is rosy in the garden . But as someone once said, these are the worst of times, these are the best of times. Onwards to the cup final and hopefully a rebel treble treble. HH

  21. For Neil Lennon,read E Gunnar of Man Utd. Decide in haste, repent at leisure.


    I was happy after the Aberdeen game,because I wasn’t even sure about that game.


    The only explanation about the two Sevco games is that Celtic were avoiding injuries


    Stevie Clarke for me.That team today had no shape or desire, except for Ajer.


    Paul67,I am afraid to say,is a mouthpiece for the board,and it saddens me to say it.

  22. Genuinely laughed out loud when Gerrard said in his post match comments that he was proud of his team’s discipline today. When the interviewer asked about the elbow into Browns throat he said he didn’t want to talk about that…



    The man is a clown but he’s bested us twice this season.

  23. onenightinlisbon on




    So we were always going to lose today? Get a grip….

  24. This time last season, we could comfortably argue that not a single one of their players would get a game for us (McGregor being the only one if it was on talent alone).


    In my opinion, on today’s performance, none of our players would have got into their team.


    That’s how far off the pace McGregor, Edouard, Rogic, Ajer, Lustig and co. looked.

  25. DANSO_1888 on 12TH MAY 2019 3:01 PM



    the board have proved onceagain they are a impediment to the club that’s why rogers walked out and we ended up with neil they are a bunch of skint flints who will cost 10 in a row,



    *Gi’e it a rest, clodagh left because his bottle went, funny how he has on his desk a golden-coloured case with a personalised magnum of champagne on green silk, covered with photos of Celtic’s most recent triumphs and emblazoned in bold letters across the front, it reads Double Treble.



    That was it for him as his star was rising, there’s no way he was going tae threaten that when slippy appeared on the horizon. He’s now reached his level, joint 10th in the Premiership.

  26. Reality lol …



    Let’s take a look at the “reality” of Lennon The Manager.



    The gap at the top of the league is 6 points.



    Three draws and a defeat since Lennon took the reigns … in ten league games.



    And of the wins?



    Aberdeen last week … impressive. After we scored the first.



    A scrappy single goal at Celtic Park against ten man Sevco.



    A goal against Kilmarnock that was right out of a fairytale … but that match had 0-0 written all over it until that magical moment.



    A 2-0 win over St Mirren. Not exactly an awesome display.



    A winner against Dundee in the 96th minute.



    A winner against Hearts in the 92nd.



    Anyone who thinks appointing Lennon ISN’T a risk – a huge, unpardonable risk – didn’t watch those games.



    We have won this title, but by a hair.



    It was closer than it looked, and yes I blame Rodgers for the manner of his departure … but nobody can alibi Lennon. Those lobbying for him have only one criteria; he “gets it.”



    A lot of us do too. We are not remotely qualified for the job though, and neither is he.




    There is not a tactician in the world and certainly not one available to Celtic that could have stopped Sevco’s season high today, a pyrrhic victory.





    When did Stevie G become the best tactician in the world? You can’t really be serious with that statement.

  28. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    One of these days Celtic will not win the treble.



    That is the historical norm; this phenomenon we are living is the exception.



    Enjoy it for what it is. Exceptional.



    Hail hail

  29. That game was so surreal for me, no angst yesterday or through the night, no jumping out of bed this morning; it really lost its allure for me.



    This was their hunden 3-0 game; while we were all celebrating naesurname was across in Rome signing a hugely talented but highly volatile player who at that time nae club would touch with the proverbial barge pole.



    Although they had won the League in a landslide overtaking the great Wullie Maley’s six-in-a-row record, 15 points ahead of the steelmen and 18 as well as a massive 19 GD in front of us in lowly 4th place, it was a poor season for them.



    They had exited out of Europe in Another Early Knockout in the qualifying rounds, knocked out of the LC at home tae mid table falkirk the same night we were winning up at dens park and lost 2-4 tae the calvinists, a team they had paid 2 million for their centre half earlier in the season, in the SC.



    We did win the SC, thanks to the much maligned Peter Grant, in IMHO the poorest cup final I have ever witnessed.



    So that summer they dispatched their Big Cup winning goal defender from the summer before, having replaced him with mclaren earlier in the season and then reinforced their defence with petric who we were allegedly interested in until the bank informed the ayrshire rag and bone man.



    The following season they won their own 8-in-a-row with a record points total finishing 4 points ahead of us, we only lost one game that season while they lost 3 but 11 draws done us in as well as officials like boyne mcbride ensured we were never going tae win it.



    Big Pierre finished top goal scorer 9, 10 and 12 goals ahead of juke box, chauncey and the FGB respectably, and although our GA was the same as theirs they still managed tae score 11 more than us and tae cap things off they secured the double with a 5-1 win over the calvinists.



    However, after qualifying by a solitary goal against a Cypriot side for the group stages of the Champions League they were once again humiliated winning zero games, finishing bottom of their section with a -8 GD and being gubbed home and away by Juve.



    So intae the new season they went chasing our honest 9-in-a-row record. Another 10 million spent with nothing coming in for players let go. A League and League Cup double was secured.



    However, once again humiliated in Europe, bottom of their section with again a -8 GD and the FGB being sent off 4 days after winning a bare knuckle fight up in Perth.



    Little did we know that nasesurnames jaiket was on a shoogly peg as bader couldnae give a donald duck about domestic trophies, it was all about Europe for him, and so after going out in the qualifying rounds tae our old friends Gothenburg and despite winning 13 trophies he was told he would be replaced not even half way through the season after spending 14.5 million that summer and the flying pig as well as the FGB would be following him oot the door.



    So how does that effect us, well there is really no sentiment in the game and although Lenny is an icon as a player and manager and we will always be grateful for stepping intae the breach when clodagh ran away, sorry sneaked oot the back door, mibbees just mibbees its time tae move on.

  30. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    We’ve played 180+ games in less than 3 years.



    Our players will have off days.



    If these happen in league matches AFTER the league is won (Dundee & Caballero, Hibs and Scott Brown, Aberdeen last year, Sevco this year) I can live with it.



    Hail hail

  31. Go tell the Spartim on

    There’s always fallouts after defeats, esp to bigots, so once you strip it all back the questions I ask myself are:



    Is NFL the best manager we can get? If he is then there’s a few people at Celtic getting too much of a salary for what they do.



    If it’s NFL then has he shown he can improve and motivate players ?



    On both counts my answer is No, so if he goes get the gig I think we’re in for a long season next season.



    Cup final is the focus for now so let’s get today out our system and move on TOGETHER