PETER LAWWELL insists the Celtic board did not fall asleep at the wheel while also taking aim at “over the top” criticism on social media.

The Hoops chief executive was responding during the club’s virtual AGM as he fielded questions regarding the management team following their disappointing start to the season that has seen them slip 13 points behind Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit although they have two games in hand.

The club also went out of the Champions League at the group qualifying stage to Ferencvaros in August, endured a wretched Europa League campaign and were dismissed from the Betfred League Cup by Ross County at Parkhead last month.

Supporters and shareholders have claimed the Parkhead hierarchy adopted the “cheap” option in offering Neil Lennon the manager’s position and have failed to invest properly into the squad in a season that promises so much as they chase their historic tenth successive title and are on the brink of sealing the unprecedented quadruple treble when they play Hearts in the delayed Scottish Cup Final at Hampden on Sunday.

Lawwell, speaking on the club video, hit back at comments on social media and emphasised no-one at Celtic had given up on winning the league this season.

On the criticism from the fans, the club chief acknowledged: “I can fully understand it. I understand frustration, it’s been a difficult run over eight weeks. I’m a Celtic supporter, I get it, we understand it. The social media world, accusations that the board is holding fans in contempt, it can get a wee bit OTT.

“The support over the summer, they were nothing short of remarkable.

“We [the board]have no agenda or motive. We haven’t given up on the league, there are circumstances that have put us in the position. We will do all we can to win the league.”

On the “asleep at the wheel” accusations, Lawwell replied: “That’s not the case. We’ve had incredible domestic success. We strengthened the squad knowing there was going to be a challenge this year to a level we haven’t done before.

“We spent £35million from July 2019. We’ve never spent anything like that in the past. We’ve strengthened and kept our best players. That’s not complacency. We’ve invested the reserves into the team to make us stronger.

“We’ve a manager that’s delivered with his track record. We’re investing in football to take the club forward and in no way were we sitting back being complacent waiting for things happening.”

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