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Neil Lennon, big and bad enough

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Neil Lennon is big and bad enough not to need any help from you or me, but he has a job on his hands.  He will prepare a squad to face Hearts twice in the next eight days, which he acquired from Brendan Rodgers in February, and which Brendan largely acquired from Ronny Deila, which is wilting before our eyes.

Injuries abound, the latest, Scott Brown’s broken toe, symptomatic of this season.  Brendan tied himself in all sorts of knots in August, revealing fewer of his intentions to you or me than to Moussa Dembele.  Dedryck Boyata went on strike during the latter, and unsuccessful, stage of our Champions League qualification campaign.  Then Moussa went so off message Brendan decided it was best for him to leave town.

Have you worked in an environment like this?  I have not, but these are just the things we know about.  I doubt it was an easy shift for Brendan to lift the squad as well as he did for the Europa League, League Cup and League campaign.

Then, to cap it all, Brendan turned on his heels a day before we were due to visit Tynecastle and four days before a Scottish Cup visit to Easter Road.  You may have worked in an environment like this, but I doubt you have successfully managed one.

It was demeaning for Neil Lennon to have to defend himself this week.  Not to himself, but to the goldfish who are so unaware of the environment or parameters he has worked in.

Celtic won their first treble the day I was born, but I was 34 before they won their third.  No club has ever won Treble Trebles in a row.  Celtic have never won three consecutive Scottish Cups.  The measure of our current success is so great it is difficult to quantify.

In 1995 we finished fourth in the league, two points behind Hibs and three ahead of Falkirk.  But we went to the Scottish Cup Final that season and won the most magnificent dreary game played.  This is football.  Success is neither easy nor linear and it is never entitled.  Appreciate these times.

Bring lots of change with you on Sunday, this is your one and only chance to buy a Foundation VIII Badge!

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  1. This Sunday’s game has nothing at stake.

     

     

    Maybe an opportunity to wish some players well, and send them on their way

  2. “revealing fewer of his intentions to you or me than to Moussa Dembele”

     

     

    That’s what I heard.

     

     

    “I’ll take you with me”

  3. Hi Paul,

     

     

    I think it’s 2024 before we can buy a Foundation XIII badge – but I’m sure it’ll come round.

     

     

    Hope Saturday’s badge collection is drier than the last one.

  4. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    “Brendan tied himself in all sorts of knots in August”

     

     

    Yet again Paul you fail to attribute any blame or even make mention of our CEO/other executives in the debacle that was our summer transfer window. It has been pinned on Brendan, it has been pinned on Congerton but never on the executives- not even a little bit.

     

     

    I could accept an apportionment to various parties (no one came out of last year’s summer window smelling of roses), but the silence in relation to the executives is deafening.

  5. Demeaing for him to defend himself?

     

     

    He demeaned himself by turning on he fans. He demeaned himself last week by posturing before Ibrox, which Rodgers would never have done in a million years.

     

     

    This guy is the manager of Celtic for the moment. This is a high pressure job, that comes with scrutiny. If he doesn’t like the scruitny I suggest he leaves the job before the REAL pressure starts.

     

     

    His performance on the job has been rank so far. Rank. Awful football, his win ratio covers a multitude of sins. And he’s hiding behind another manager’s tactics, and lately the players.

     

     

    The case for Lennon is collapsing, and that’s largely Lennon’s own fault. His advocates said he “got” the club, as if that mattered to being the manager. They said he was a safe pair of hands, until the results and the performances undermined that. His ability to cope with pressure now has to be seriously questioned.

     

     

    It is demeaning that he has to answer for what we’ve seen so far?

     

     

    That’s ridiculous, I’m sorry to say. It’s part of the job description.

     

     

    Nobody is making a positive case for him here, least of all himself. I get more worried by the prospect of him sitting in the dugout next season with every day that passes.

  6. traditionalist88 on

    THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 17TH MAY 2019 11:46 AM

     

     

    Very true. The haggling over a few hundred grand for John McGinn will be a regret for many years to come.

     

     

    Would have been a great signing.

     

     

    HH

  7. To be fair, I think Paul is referring to things he heard that were going on behind closed doors regarding BR’s conduct.

     

     

    I have heard similar points.

  8. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ TRADITIONALIST88 on 17TH MAY 2019 11:51 AM

     

     

    Yep. Especially when there were so many similarities between McGinn and our current captain. We paid nearly £4.5m for SB over 10 years ago and he has subsequently made over 500 appearances and will be remembered as a Celtic great.

     

     

    We are now richer than ever and had BR and SB signing McGinn’s praises but refused to shell out. McGinn is now on the cusp of the EPL and by all accounts has been a pivotal player for Villa this year.

     

     

    What a mistake that may prove (if not already).

  9. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @TIMALOY29 on 17TH MAY 2019 11:54 AM

     

     

    Maybe they are true. But all the narrative is flowing in one direction and painting certain parties as bad guys while others are left unscathed.

     

     

    History is written by the victors and PL is still at Celtic and BR isn’t.

  10. Interesting article for those people discussing the McGinn deal. I believe we could have got John McGinn but the deal was more complicated than it was for Aston Villa. Hibs allowed McGinn to travel to Birmingham to talk terms and do a medical before a fee was agreed.

     

     

    https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/sport/football/ex-hibs-striker-steven-fletcher-16278559

     

     

    Hibs striker Steven Fletcher admitted he tried to push through a move to Celtic before leaving for Burnley.

     

     

    Fletcher came through the ranks at Easter Road, playing over 150 games before Hibs sold him to the Turf Moor club for £2.75m ten years ago.

     

     

    The player had been the subject of a bid from Celtic, at that time under the management of Gordon Strachan and the player was keen to go.

     

     

    But he also had a desire to move down south and test himself, which was also chairman Rod Petrie’s preference.

     

     

    “I’d been linked with Celtic in the January and they put an offer in for me,” he explained on the Open Goal podcast with Si Ferry.

     

     

    “It got rejected and I went to see the chairman and asked him what the script was. He openly said to me ‘I’ll let you go in the summer but I’m ot letting you go just now’.

     

     

    “I was still a bit like ‘just let me go’ and tried to push it a little bit because you’ve got to try your luck.

     

     

    “But he was like ‘listen, you’re not going’ so I just left it.

     

     

    “I was that daft and young that I just got on with it. It was a case of ‘alright, I’m not going now’. He said to me I was leaving in the summer, so that I was gone then. Happy days.

     

     

    “His words were to me ‘I want you to go down to the Premier League’ so I was thinking he’d obviously had contact from people.

     

     

    “I did want to go at Celtic at the time because it was a good squad. Strachan was the manager and brought it up to me when he was Scotland manager.”

     

     

    “I obviously nearly had the chance to sign for Celtic but then after I thought about it when it got to the summer I knew I’d rather go down to England.”

  11. TRADITIONALIST88

     

     

    John McGinn is a more useful stick to beat the CEO with than he is a footballer.

     

     

    If he learned to lift his head when playing the game he’d still be mediocre. A modern day roadrunner.

     

     

    All about opinions csc….

  12. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE:

     

     

    Totally agree that McGinn is going to seem like the most glaring screw-up in the transfer market for years. But I still have some sympathy with the position Petrie put us in over that one, by playing funny buggers all the way through the negotiations. I have heard that there was no fee he would have accepted from Celtic.

     

     

    That said … we played into his hands with the derisory offers we did make at the start. Lawwell really does think he’s better at this game than he is. Had we made a reasonable offer for McGinn right out of the gate instead of insulting player and club both, we’d have put pressure on Petrie from inside his own club, from the guy sitting in our managers office right now, who I’m sure would have found a use for the money.

     

     

    Petrie was allowed to play his own cards to the maximum. It epitomised our abysmal summer.

  13. traditionalist88 on

    THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 17TH MAY 2019 11:56 AM

     

    @ TRADITIONALIST88 on 17TH MAY 2019 11:51 AM

     

     

    Yep. Especially when there were so many similarities between McGinn and our current captain. We paid nearly £4.5m for SB over 10 years ago and he has subsequently made over 500 appearances and will be remembered as a Celtic great.

     

    =======

     

     

    Yeah this is absolutely baffling, especially given the fact Brown was over 10 years ago, the markets elsewhere have got even more crazy and here was a guy desperate to sign for us who would have been a mainstay for years to come if he wanted.

     

     

    I’ve seen bits and pieces of Villa recently and hes a real driving force, tidy and chips in with goals and assists.

     

     

    HH

  14. “The measure of our current success is so great it is difficult to quantify”

     

     

    I am starting to quantify it by the ratio of negative to positive comments made by fans of our own club.

     

     

    Currently we are operating at 66% critical to 33% positive so there must be a cognitive dissonance caused by experiencing such unprecedented levels of success at a time where many fans have been predicting doom, gloom and the Rangers Be Coming!

     

     

    I never thought I would have the chance to see a Treble Treble or another possible 9iar (and I know that neither event has been achieved yet). Neil provided the first 3, Ronny the next 2 and Brendan the last 3 (aided significantly by Neil again to get the last over the line).

     

     

    Players like Brown, Lustig, Forrest and McGregor will be associated with this run forever and they have all had to endure periods of heavy criticism from the support.

     

     

    I thank them all for what they did, even if we fall short.

  15. traditionalist88 on

    BIG WAVY on 17TH MAY 2019 12:00 PM

     

     

    Don’t agree with that at all mate. Sprays good passes out wide and can put dangerous balls into the box and doesnt mind getting stuck in.

     

     

    Would have been a perfect fit.

     

     

    HH

  16. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 17TH MAY 2019 11:58 AM

     

     

    Maybe they are true. But all the narrative is flowing in one direction and painting certain parties as bad guys while others are left unscathed.

     

     

    History is written by the victors and PL is still at Celtic and BR isn’t.

     

     

    ____

     

     

    Brendan Rodgers and Lee Congerton have history regarding disastrous windows. Before they came to Celtic.

     

     

    I like BR and he is able to improve players game. He’s taken James Forrest to a new level. But his hit rate in the transfer market is poor. Congerton worse.

     

     

    Regarding the CEO, we clearly have a big issue with Hibs. Whatever happened regarding the Scott Brown has spilled over to the point that they’d actively try and punt players to anybody else so they don’t have to do business with Celtic. It’s not a good state of affairs because as the biggest club in our domestic market we should be able to pick up the outstanding players.

     

     

    Bayern Munich have managed to do so in Germany. Signing players from direct rivals like Dortmund.

  17. SETTING FREE THE BEARS FOR RES. 12 & OSCAR KNOX:

     

     

    To be fair, this would be a real party fortnight if our club wasn’t going around in circles.

     

     

    This has been an awful season in many ways, the title and the trophies notwithstanding. There hasn’t been any point during it where we’ve felt like the house was secure, you know what I mean?

     

     

    The summer was appalling, and in particularly the day Rodgers took a shot at the board and they responsed the following night just before we kicked off against AEK. I had a meeting the following day at Celtic Park and I knew from Lawwell’s demeanor that it was over.

     

     

    From that moment on, as I wrote some months ago, I knew the writing was on for Rodgers at the club and that he’d be going when the campaign was done. I think most people did, and so the whole first half of the season had that, and the Champions League knockout, hanging over it like a black cloud.

     

     

    The January window was supposed to bring respite and right some of the wrongs, but then Rodgers complained about the Shved signing and that took all the shine off what was actually not a bad window in terms of getting us across the eight in a row line.

     

     

    February, we know all about and everything after that is tempered by frustration and growing anger at the club’s apparent lack of focus and direction … people are edgy, it’s been that kind of campaign.

     

     

    I will celebrate 3Treble like nothing else in my life. It is an epic achievement – if we make it – and will finally close the book on some of my worst memories growing up.

     

     

    Nine and ten are what will erase them completely, but many of us are justifiably nervous – I am petrified in fact – that we might be about to take a colossal and unpardonable risk with those.

     

     

    When the cup final is over and we name a manager some certainty and sanity will hopefully be restored, but I’m not going to kid you on, not only do I believe that naming Neil Lennon would start next season – before a ball is even kicked – in a more divisive fashion than anything that happened in the last campaign, I am increasingly convinced that it will be a disaster in every way imaginable.

     

     

    What I’m saying is, this has been an awful season to get through and I’m just it’s nearly over. But I don’t find myself at all enthused about the next one, a nine in a row year. I wouldn’t have believed I could write that even three years ago, when Ronny left.

     

     

    It’s horrible. We should be floating on air right now and we’re not.

  18. line up could be anything on Sunday.

     

     

    for the cup final i expect Brown to play if fit.

     

     

    If he isn’t (broken toe?) , I would play Ajer in CM and Benkovic at CB. Could be a wee spanner in the works that Hearts won’t expect or i could have gone mad!!

     

     

    Hail Hail

  19. Paul 67

     

    I can’t take your header seriously as you don’t give any blame to the charlatan Lawwell for the shambles of last summer.

     

    Since you started this blog you have had a go at loads of people, many who were employed by Celtic too.

     

    However. in all these years, one person you have never criticised in any way, shape or form is the guy who picked up 3.5 million from the club last year,

     

    Indeed, he is held up like a beacon from yourself in dark times we had in the past.

     

    Could you explain why he has never bore the brunt from you, in all this time, no matter how much the charlatan has messed up things?

  20. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    No question Lenny is one of us and the last thing he deserves is disloyalty and ingratitude for stepping into the shambles when he did. All fans I spoke to were relieved he was available and willing. He deserves 100% support for that alone. Rodgers was a great coach, but left us right in the shecht.

     

     

    However, only 3 questions now arise for me:

     

     

    1. Is Lenny the best we can get?

     

    2. If it is, does that represent a fall in standard of manager we just need to accept?

     

    3. Will the club mitigate the impact of that by bringing in first team ready players?

     

     

    Like many I’m constantly conflicted about Lenny. I have a personal loyalty to him, but continual nagging concern that it’s a big mistake to go back. Then there is the other question – who of the names bandied around would give us better odds of the 9? Only Benitez leaves me with anything other than the fear.

     

     

    The performances and tactics since Lenny came in have been pretty much dreadful. How much of that is down to him or circumstances I just don’t know. My worst fear is it’s him, we appoint and he is the man who goes down in history as blowing 9/10. No Celt deserves that less.

     

     

    Like I say, conflicted.

  21. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ SETTING FREE THE BEARS FOR RES. 12 & OSCAR KNOX on 17TH MAY 2019 12:02 PM

     

     

    “cognitive dissonance caused by experiencing such unprecedented levels of success at a time where many fans have been predicting doom, gloom and the Rangers Be Coming!”

     

     

    James Forrest has already replied to your comment and comes at it from a similar perspective to myself. However, to add on to it…

     

     

    I don’t think it’s cognitive dissonance, rather that we are getting over the line (we had an uncanny knack to do so with BR and have, in the main, continued with Neil) and winning trophies while there is trouble brewing in the background. This is causing some degree of angst.

     

     

    While we have enjoyed unprecedented success we have been woeful off the park in terms of our succession planning and, more generally, pushing on from a position of strength.

     

     

    We lost Dembele, Roberts, Armstrong and didn’t replace them. We sought recourse to a 33 year old crocked German and a youngster from Dundee to sort our defence out in January. We brought in Izzi and Mulumbu on a free the summer after reporting record profit and turnover. We witnessed our CEO and manager have a fall out in a very public fashion.

     

     

    We have ossified to the backdrop of one of the most successful periods in our history. It would seem more difficult to cause this internal strife and disorganisation than to avoid it.

  22. Lambert14 agree. What was the root cause of Rodgers angst ? He made it pretty clear that 4 signing targets were given to Lawwell and he didn’t deliver on any of them.

     

     

    Rodgers then proceeded to throw the toys out of the pram and his subsequent behaviour and walk out were a disgrace. However we can be assured that Lawwell was not sitting around quietly like the innocent party as we know there were briefings against Rodgers from Lawwell.

     

     

    For Paul67 to rewrite history ( and blame Rodgers for everything is disengenous at best —- there is a more appropriate word but I will cut him some slack).

     

     

    Now to sugar coat Lenny is pushing it too far. Lenny would be a Lawwell puppet and do his masters bidding ( I am sure he has other puppets) .

     

     

    Lenny is not fit for the Celtic job.

     

     

    Lawwell needs to deliver a professional manager who will take Celtic forward. That is certainly not Neil Lennon.

  23. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ TIMALOY29 on 17TH MAY 2019 12:07 PM

     

     

    Not sure if it is entirely fair. Has BR signed bad players, but at Celtic and previous clubs? Undoubtedly so. Can you name a manager that hasn’t?

     

     

    Neil signed some great players, but you can also add Pukki, Balde, Boerrigter, Bangura, Juarez- all players signed for £2m region (give or take on either side)- to his list of transfers, nevermind any free transfers who did nothing- Oliver Kapo, Freddy Ljungberg, Ibrahim, Lassad, Mouyokolo and then there are unsuccessful loans.

     

     

    When looked at from this context, BR was not a disaster in the transfer market, particularly as a whole host of his signings were for next to nothing/circa £1m.

     

     

    I think (if anything) it highlights that we have a deficient signing policy of signing players for low fees who, in the main, end up failures and balloon our wage bill. This policy has been in place for a long time now.

  24. The Hands Can’t Hit What The Eyes Cant See : @ 12.24pm

     

     

    Spot on my friend.

     

     

    Lawell and the board will only get it tight from the majority, once things go tits up.

     

     

    However it only takes a smidgen of foresight to see, that the continued austerity under Lawells watch, is going to bite us in the arse sooner than later.

  25. All these names being mentioned as our possible new manager , most have no chance of being at celtic . As for Neil. My own opinion is he has had his shot . Time to look elsewhere . Desmond holds the aces .the balls in his court , if he is serious about getting the 10 then a spend will be sanctioned , but I bet most of us won’t hold our breath on that one . But we will soon get our answer .

  26. THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE on 17TH MAY 2019 12:36 PM

     

    @ TIMALOY29 on 17TH MAY 2019 12:07 PM

     

     

     

    Not sure if it is entirely fair. Has BR signed bad players, but at Celtic and previous clubs? Undoubtedly so. Can you name a manager that hasn’t?

     

     

    __

     

     

    Can you name me a club that hasn’t? That argument is a two way street.

     

     

    Ask a Liverpool fan what they thing of his signings.

     

     

    Ask a Sunderland fan about Congerton.

  27. 67 European Cup Winners on

    THE HANDS CANT HIT WHAT THE EYES CANT SEE

     

     

    Spot on. I think you are on the money

     

    PL is an asset and a great CEO. But he is in the mix that has us in the predicament we are in. He is not blameless (McGinn as an example) but he has got off Scott free

     

    67ECW

  28. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ TIMALOY29 on 17TH MAY 2019 12:51 PM

     

     

    That’s the point. Brendan signed Coutinho. He was sold for £130m.

     

     

    Brendan gets a tough time for his signings, but the vast majority were for net to nothing. Of those he spent money on, I would only count Kouassi as a failure and he still may have some utility.

     

     

    As pointed out in my previous post, Neil also had a mixed record in the transfer market, although we did uncover Wanyama and VVD during his tenure.

  29. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    Got to say there was a very good discussion t’other day regarding scouts success rate, the scout is given a remit and scope, they collect a group of suggestions that meet that scope, the buyer reviews the candidates and selects or rejects on the grounds of what they want, at no time does the scout sign a player unless the buyer has abdicate their responsibility. So O hold neither Park or Congerton responsible for dud signings and fail to see how they can be held responsible.

  30. Mindfulness is an on trend concept right now. My wife teaches it to some with mental health issues and has some amazing results. It’s to do with being present ‘in the moment’. Not fearing the future or regretting the past. It’s about not over thinking things and building fears where none ought to exist.

     

     

    My Celtic supporting life has rarely been so good in fact never. We know how incredibly hard winning a treble can be. Sport is random so to win 3 in a row is almost impossible to comprehend. Even more vs the stacked deck we have here.

     

     

    Neil came back to a really tough gig. The hard fixture list and then he took over from a legend or god. A bit like following Henrik.

     

     

    If we win this treble again it will be a feat up there with the best ever.

     

     

    I for one will enjoy it and cherish every moment. I will be in the moment and overjoyed. I do feel sad for those who only get negative from following Celtic. IT CANT BE to go through life’s inn such misery and in paranoid state. It maybe good to seek a bit of therapy and enjoy these times. We are not entitled and they may not always be quite as good.

     

     

    Last night I was so privileged to be at the Foundation event in London. What an amazing force for good that organization is becoming. To say I felt humbled just doesnt come close. So many folk from all walks of life doing amazing things. Another Fergus ( a guy our fans booed ‘in the moment’ ) legacy.

     

     

    These are great times to support Celtic I really hope folk can enjoy them

  31. Silver City 1888 on

    I’m beginning to reconsider my views on playing a B-team against Hearts on Sunday. Considering they might be all that we have available to us to play at Hampden a week later, maybe we shouldn’t risk them.

  32. onenightinlisbon on

    Celtic have had years of not kicking on from success and this one may yet again prove to be so. If our board really want us to get 9 & 10 then they must appoint the best man for the job. In my opinion, Lennon is as far away as we can go from appointing the best.I also think that a lot of supporters are of the same opinion and that no slack will be given if things take a turn for the worst.

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