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. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Anyone old enough to remember the spring of ’92?



    We lost the New Year’s Day game which effectively ended the title race.



    We got Tom Boyd signed and went on a brilliant run (after the pressure was off) including an easy win at Ibrox, Nicholas and Creaney scoring things of beauty.



    Real momentum, big hopes for the next season ……….



    You know the rest.



    Hail hail




    Wow. Is that the issue, is it?



    Nine in a row and ten in a row are what we are shooting for, and those things should be achievable.



    See, to me this boils down to a very simple equation, a very simple question.



    Is Neil Lennon the best we can get?



    And everyone knows the answer to that is no. Everyone knows this. All the talk about how he “gets it” and is “one of our own” is just rank nonsense, because none of this things are of any value in the dugout, where all that counts is talent and ability.



    Good players make things happen in moments. Managers build things. The manager is the most important component in the machine that is a football club.



    For the last eight years I have been laughing my arse off at every major decision they’ve made at Ibrox. Every single one. Because at no point was the man in the dugout someone to fear. McCoist, Warburton, Caixinha, Gerrard. Not a one of them at top class manager. Not one of them with a clue how to build a team and develop a squad, not one with the experience or savvy to pull off what needs a miracle.



    Gerrard is a dire appointment for them, and I genuinely believe that. I don’t think he’s improved anything significant over there, so the only way I can see us getting caught is if we make a mistake on that level, something that pulls us backwards.



    And Lennon is exactly that sort of decision; yesterday’s man, a manager from the age football is leaving behind. At the very least, it gives them a gleam of hope. It drops out standards and shows us up as a parochial wee club which is ruled by fear.



    Lennon is an enormous risk, and not just to nine and ten in a row.



    Our club should never settle again for an SPL grade manager … and that’s what this guy is.



    Appointing him would give them a bigger shot in the arm than a £20 million freebie from their favourite billioniare with a King Billy tattoo on his arse.

  3. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    So how do we fix forward?



    After our December defeat I opined we needed four players to invigorate the squad.



    My views (for what they are worth, probably not much) are unchanged.



    Also, we need a new manager.



    In general I prefer Celtic fans not to have a sense of entitlement.



    However, given our “significant financial advantage” I think we are entitled to have the best manager in the SPFL.



    I like Neil, but I (respectfully) believe he is not the best manager in the SPFL currently.



    Hail hail

  4. JAMES FORREST on 12TH MAY 2019 5:06 PM



    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.



    *I had an uncle, great supporter who also coached juvenile fitba, who would watch us fae the enclosure, whenever it was mentioned of players that they would play for the jersey he would point tae the Jungle and say that place is full of men should play for the jersey, unfortunately most of hem aren’t that good enough.

  5. What the Rangers bench shouted after Jon Flanagan’s forearm smash on Scott Brown…… From The Dailly Ranger……


    Neil Lennon claims the Ibrox side were remonstrating with officials when the Hoops skipper was on the deck.



    Neil Lennon claims the Rangers bench shouted “it’s him again” when Scott Brown was left floored by Jon Flanagan’s forearm smash.



    The Celtic skipper was left in a crumpled heap during the 2-0 defeat after he was caught in the face by the former Liverpool defender.




    Lennon was left unhappy with referee Kevin Clancy’s decision not to show a straight red card with the defender only receiving a caution during the second-half flashpoint.



    And the Irishman says the Ibrox bench were remonstrating with officials by insinuating Brown was exaggerating contact.




    It should NOT matter if the Ball was “Not in Play”, if You decide to assault an opponent..surely it’s Red card…so according to Ref Clancy…..Scott Brown could have got up when the ball went out of play again…and stuck the heid on Woman Beater Flanagan…and it would only merit a Yellow Card…cos the Ball was NOT in Play…..Bollucks !



  6. Celtic are 8 in a row Champions.


    We lost a game today that doesn’t affect that fact.


    By most accounts we, Celtic, did not perform well today.


    We did, however, last week when we won the league at Aberdeen.



    I don’t like anything about the mob that beat us today. They will most likely continue to drool about their title credentials until we next visit the bigotdome. That game will be important as it will have an effect on the destination next season’s Championship title.



    Enjoy basking in the nice weather as Champions.




  7. Tattiemuncher on

    Anyone who is promoting Lennon’s case is delusional or doing somebody’s bidding. The vast majority of the support, while appreciating his contribution and passion, can see his shortcomings. Today simply helped confirm them. His appointment would not in any way suggest progress or ambition. In my view, quite the reverse. If the Board give him the job, then they have badly misread the support.




    There’s at least two of us on here, that reckon Neil Lennon can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, especially when he’s a caretaker with someone else’s squad, for what its worth, I didn’t agree with the selections, or the format, but ho hum.



    What tactics would you have used? – Who would you have played?



    I doubt very much Sevco’s seasonal gala afternoon could have been avoided by tactics or formation, and for my money a win for NFL would have been a trinket, and a papering over of cracks, that were already there in the nil nil draws and other ‘turgid’ performances



    I’m glad just like I posted the Celtic Board are firmly behind the personnel eight ball, and if you must appear on CQN every year just to criticise you should return to your manical perennial agenda, given you only reach for your keyboard when Celtic lose.



    Blogger’s blaming Neil Lennon is hardly likely to influence those that matter in the choice of manager, and they’ve given us a good deal worse than NFL before



    HH Fozzie

  9. I’m guessing that Paul67’s comment about today’s game having little bearing in whether Lenny gets the job or not is based on two things. Firstly he was brought in to finish the job of winning the treble, given the circumstances I wouldn’t have thought there was much talk about performance in individual games. Secondly, unless he’s gone through a remarkable transformation either for the better or worse since he left we’ll know what to expect from him as a manager. He was here long enough before to know what we’d be getting.



    Just a guess

  10. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    James – our posts crossed over. Your points well made and passionate as ever.



    If we put new players of ability and a manager of high calibre in place what COULD next season look like?



    Hypothetically, we’d be less likely to



    – come away from Easter Road with 1 point.


    – come away from Ibrox with no points


    – drop 4 pts to Livingston


    – chuck away 2 pts needlessly at Motherwell



    Take care of these and sustain our existing results and we’ll reach 95 points and win 9 in a row.



    Hail hail

  11. onenightinlisbon on

    If our board don’t appoint Neil, how many top football clubs would want him as manager?

  12. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    A little perspective, please.



    Celtic are on the verge of a treble treble in a season where they sold a world class striker in the final day of the transfer window, his deputy is signed off sick and the manager walks out mid way through the season.



    Another treble will be a great achievemen in the face of adversity.



    Today was dreadful. Celtic haven’t played a decent 90 minutes of football since Neil Lennon took over. His appointment as manger next season would be a retrogressive step.



    The timing and content of Paul’s latest missive is very ominous.

  13. The wailing and gnashing of teeth following the loss of a dead rubber game.



    It’s almost like the huns never died and the Old Firm continues uninterrupted.

  14. Big Peter will be more excited about the prospect of Mousa Dembele moving to Man Utd than of us signing his long overdue replacement. Celtic in a nutshell.

  15. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    It’s worrying that we have now failed to score in 10 league games out of 37 this season. Under Lenny the goals have really dried up – 3 of the last 5 matches we’ve drawn blanks. We’ve scored 11 goals in his 10 league matches, 2 of which came out of nowhere in the last minute (Hertz & Dundee). Add in Killie under Rodgers and we could easily be looking at 12 blanks in 37 league games. That’s dire stuff.



    I’m really not getting the tactics either. Jonny Hayes et al punting not very good crosses into Edouard? It’s hardly his game. Baffling. And not working.



    Two years ago we had Armstrong, Dembele, Roberts and Sinclair banging them in alongside Griff, Forrest et al. Sinclair is still there in body if not spirit, but we have systematically reduced our goal threat. Not aided by Lenny’s tactics.



    Mikey J, Bayo, Burke et al just aren’t adequate replacements. The goals for stats confirm it. The huns have outscored us this season.



    If you’re not worried because of the impending treble treble you should be.




    Your point is ludicrous, and you’ve made it again without any effort to defend it.



    You don’t think anyone would have stopped them winning today, but in the same post you’re asking me what my tactical plan would have been? Haha.



    Let me answer it though, because it’s a question that requires effort.



    Scott Brown played a holding role today, which means he played in his normal position between the defence and the attacking midfielders. Their answer to that was to play a block of FOUR central midfield players, one around the area where Brown plays … that was Arfield, and he got away from Brown for the second goal, by harrassing him and with the right backup to do it.



    Because that was their tactic today, because Gerrard has watched Lennon and Celtic and knows that’s where Brown ALWAYS plays. We all know that.



    So he put one marker on him and in addition got the THREE other midifielders to take turns in pressing Brown every time he had the ball. Sometimes there was as many as three of them on him at one time. And to cap that, anybody not pressing Brown dropped further back to cover our two attacking midfielders.



    So what you had was Brown being tightly marked, a minimum of two Sevco players in between him and the attacking midfielders all day long. All day long. All day long.



    Which severely limited his chances to pass the ball forward.



    Hence all the going backwards and side to side to side.



    The attacking midfielders were equally crowded whenever they DID get the ball … all FOUR of the Ibrox defensive midfield players were swarming all over them, so through the middle our players misplaced passes, lost possession, and finally lost heart … all day long. All day long. All day long.



    Because the manager didn’t change that at all.



    Our other great strategy – Lennon’s whole game plan – revolves on getting the ball wide and putting it into the penalty area. Which has not worked once since he took over. Which wasn’t working particularly well of late under Brendan either; a system SCREAMING to be changed.



    And today, no Forrest. No Sinclair. No Weah. Hayes at left back, so even weaker a strategy than normal.



    All day long. All day long. All day long.



    Because the manager didn’t change that either.



    If you’re asking me for an alternative, try this;



    Start the game with Toljan at left back, where he is perfectly capable of playing. Play Hayes where he can make a difference at left wing IF you are going to persist in crossing the ball. No Johnstone, who was rabbit in the headlights scared to death two Ibrox games in a row.



    Or you could be really daring …



    Ditch the stupid 4-2-3-1 and that nonsensical crossing the ball into a packed penalty box to a single striker altogether. Since you’ve got no change out of it in TEN LEAGUE GAMES dump it. Play Burke as a target man alongside Eddy, play Rogic in a roving role behind them and put Ntcham in from the start and play either him or McGregor alongside Brown as two defensive midfielders and match them man for man in the middle.



    That was GLARINGLY obvious at half time.



    And all day long. All day long. All day long.



    Because Lennon made three changes today and every one of them was a like-for-like subsitution.



    To me that’s indefensible.



    But then I’m just a blog guy. I’m not paid a huge salary for tactical nous … but even I would have balked at playing the same way for 90 minutes when it was manifestly failing on every level.

  17. I agree Paul that our squad has been run into the ground and but for BR improving nearly every player we would have been in trouble before now. Why then did you say every transfer window was a success?



    We talk big but the board are overly cautious and reactive.



    This squad has 10-12 players leaving so lets build around the quality we have, stop buying teenagers with potential and actually get some job ready guys in. Every transfer doesnt work out but we keep going back to the same players.



    Today was abysmal but of bigger concern is next season and what the new man has to work with. Better additions need added.

  18. ONENIGHTINLISBON – I asked the same question when he arrived. He is a lovely, articulate man with a great insight into the game and a gallus sense of humour for sure – but he would struggle to get a gig now with a Nationwide team down south.


    He is not the man to lead us for the next three years.

  19. can’t believe there are supporters still touting for NL to take us forward , we have come to a period in our illustrious history that requires a highly respected coach to rebuild our team as it badly needs it,


    we have players who are now coming to the end eg ML and dare I say it out captain SB , who next season should not be auto choice in starting 11, if we want to progress we have to brutal and not be sentimental , players come and go and next season we need to change at least 4 or 5 first team starters , if KT is struggling then we have to have a replacement , 70% is not good enough.


    we have gone backwards this season and if we don’t address we will go back further , some supporters need to waken up or take off their tinted glasses.


    this is not based on today’s shambles but over this season in general , we have stumbled /limped over the line and its been a hard watch at times, even with all the cheating /injuries that we have been up against , no more excuses , lets get the treble treble won and then start the change.

  20. Today’s result doesn’t matter a jot.


    Next week’s result doesn’t matter a jot.


    The cup final result does matter.



    Neil came in at an incredibly difficult time for the club. We had lost a very good manager at a crucial point in the season. It could so easily have ended in tears (it might still), but Neil came in and did what he was asked to do; win the league and give us a chance of winning the cup. That is a great achievement and I hope he is being well rewarded for the pressure and the success.



    As far as next season and beyond is concerned I don’t think Neil is the man to take us forward. I want someone else. Someone who can deploy tactics to overcome our opponents and who can change tactics midstream when things aren’t going right. I want a manager who can make Bain, Tierney, Ajer, Simonovic, McGregor, Forrest, Johnston and Edouard better than they are currently. I want a manager who can attract the best young talent in Europe and beyond. I’d be keen to give the right manager plenty of money to spend over the next 2 seasons.



    I’d go for Benitez. His current contract ends in June.

  21. glendalystonsils on

    I also worry that the modern day requirement for players to be dedicated athletes is something that Lenny doesn’t place a premium on. Sevco were full of running right to the end today while we looked out on our feet.

  22. glendalystonsils on

    Our board controls the balance of power in Scottish football . It can only change if they allow it to change.

  23. SFTB 16.33



    Excellent response to the angrier.



    A welcome perspective.





    I agree that going to the well , so many times with the same players , has consequences. Like today. My worry , and I think it’s a realistic worry is that for how long will we continue to depend on the few.


    A very important and interesting summer awaits us . HH

  24. Sadly (really sadly) Neil Lennon wasn’t even the better manager today, let alone in the league.



    Gerrard’s tactics when we had the ball were pretty predictable but still no less effective. Allow us possession at the very back, press quickly, hard and in groups to extinguish any moves through midfield; double up on our lone striker (who’s not a striker) when we eventually lobbed the ball upfield.



    In terms of attacking us, have anyone with speed run at Lustig (And his ‘i’m already back in Germany warming a bench’ replacement); okay the ball in between our midfield and defence and have Kent show that – prick or not – he’s still the best player on the field.



    Celtic made sevco look good.


    Neil Lennon made Gerrard look like a thinker.


    Both of these things take quite some doing.



    HH jg

  25. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Interesting summer ahead.



    I confidently predict Sevco will be hit hard financially on several fronts.



    Celtic’s outcomes more difficult to foresee?



    On the face of it, our board’s ambition SEEMS inconsistent.



    Good point made earlier – Brendan was a statement of intent. If we are serious about progressing, something similar required.



    IMHO, our board are brilliant at revenue raising but mediocre at spending.



    Add to that, we don’t have a head of recruitment right now.



    Lots to do.



    If the will is there it will be done well.



    Hail hail

  26. No excuses today. Got a lot of time for Lennon but not long term forl me. I’ve said all along that I feared the standards Rodgers set would slowly be eroded and that seems to be the case. We need a manager of similar standing for the next 3 years .It doesn’t take long for the rot to set in don’t see why they should have looked to be full of running while we looked heavy legged. They have only played a few games less than us. Get the dead wood out.Toljan should just pack his bag now he just didn’t fancy it at all need new faces with hunger and drive.

  27. Nobody lashes the MSM like I do … but I grow increasingly admiring of Michael Stewart.



    His tweet on the Ibrox “songbook” today is superb.

  28. Michael Stewart @mstewart_23


    The songbook being belted out at Ibrox was contemptible, it sort of highlights how hollow Neil Doncaster’s words were during the week. An absolute disgrace to hear songs about the Lisbon Lions. When are the authorities going to even properly broach the subject.

  29. Tontine Tim



    I agree it was a bit weird waking up this morning not caring about the match, no nerves or butterflies which i get with EVERY Celtic match



    Because it meant nothing

  30. Glenda



    requirement for players to be dedicated athletes is something that Lenny doesn’t place a premium on.



    Geniine Q



    Based on what ?

  31. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    I’d gladly take a fully resourced lennie as our manager for 10ar – but to be honest I don’t think even lennie himself would want to in this half arsed situation wrt the squad



    Anyway – big day in a fortnight COYBIG

  32. So, my nightmare Plan D materialised – play our stronget team but get gubbed! Ho hum.


    The Cup Final in 2 weeks time is by no means assured. And the same goes for our attempts at being the first club to do 9 in a row twice.


    Despite Paul67s words, today Neil looked more like a man who failed his job interview, slumped in his seat for most of the game, bereft of ideas.


    A big few weeks ahead.