Neil Lennon is in the news again today. For all the wrong reasons. When is Neil Lennon not in the news for the wrong reasons? Whenever I hear his name these days I wonder what he’s done or what someone says he’s done. Lennon himself must be well sick of it.
I watched the Hibs game today while keeping an eye on the odds at https://www.betting.org/; the penalty decision was a farce, but what came afterwards was even more ridiculous; the referee walked across to Lennon who appeared to be standing on the touchline calmly, and sent him to the stand. Lennon erupted.
On Radio Scotland Chick Young attempted to blame Lennon for the incident saying he was sent to the stand for his explosion; he flatly refused to listen to the other panellists who told him that Lennon only exploded after being sent to the stand.
A lot of the hacks just have the idea in their heads that if Lennon is embroiled in controversy that Neil Lennon must be to blame for it. A lot of officials seem to have the same idea. I couldn’t see any reason why Lennon was sent to the stand; he appeared to be miffed at the decision but there were no histrionics. Not until the ref walked over.
Kevin Clancy, who sent him off, needs no introduction either to Lennon or ourselves; as Lenny pointed out he failed to give Hibs a penalty earlier in the season against Sevco when it was a stonewall one. Some refs just see Lennon and lose it. Some journalists are exactly the same; Young is by no means the only one of them.
This is about Celtic of course. Like Scott Brown, Lenny has had his card marked and that happened whilst he was at Parkhead. A guy like Lenny, he’s supposed to “know his place” and sit at the back of the bus. The trouble with Lenny is that he does know his place and the rear part of the passenger carrying vehicle isn’t it. He’s from a generation of us who know we’ve got the brains and the brass ones to grab life by the scruff of the neck.
Not for Lenny a second-class seat. He knows he deserves better.
And for that the loathing some people have for him is intense.
It is, frankly, disturbing in the modern world.
Ask the average Lennon hater why they feel that way and tell me if the answer makes a blind bit of sense to you. If they slammed him in the most appalling sectarian language you would at least see that they were coming from a position you could understand even if it made you want to hit them. But the irrationality of hating a man and not even knowing why?
It’s clear – it become more clear as time goes by – that Neil Lennon will never fully escape the shadow of Celtic Park. Judgements have been made about this guy, they’ve hardened into certainty and there’s no willingness by anyone involved to review their verdict. In the eyes of those people Lennon cannot be anything but wrong, even when he’s right.
Neil Lennon is part of our club and our club is part of him.
He will never leave the shadow of it, as long as he manages in Scotland.
He knows this.
And typically for Lennon, he doesn’t care.
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