I took a lot of satisfaction from several elements of the manager’s press conference yesterday, including his decision to stand up for some of our players.
I don’t mean those who have been at the club for ages and who know what the expectations are and are falling below them, I mean those who are just in the door and who need a little time to settle.
Players can’t just be expected to roll into a new club and find their feet at once.
They are playing with new team-mates, there’s a new culture, a new environment.
And this season, of course, there is the epic weirdness of all of it happening in front of empty stands.
That Celtic’s players are being deliberately targeted by the press is not in the slightest doubt, and the proof of it was there for all to see at the weekend when Sky Sports very specifically focussed analysis on Albian Ajeti from the first minute of the game against Aberdeen, determined to prove that he was some kind of dud. It was shocking.
Andy Walker was happy to proclaim him one as he was going off the pitch.
Lennon didn’t specifically mention him yesterday but I’m sure he was told about that dire piece of commentary and had Walker in his gunsights along with Kris Commons and others.
Commons, of course, has been the subject of many an article on this blog and on some of the others; his relentless criticism of the club has to stem from a deep-seated dislike of certain people inside it, and I can guess who they are of course … it is incredible that he and others cannot park their personal animus to act like professionals and give us a fair shake.
For a former footballer to write some of the stuff about our players that Commons does is shocking, and Lennon is quite correct to defend his players from this incessant and highly personal form of criticism.
Because whilst the media is perfectly entitled to criticise bad performances the manner in which they go after our players goes well beyond straight reportage.
Players from other clubs are never put under this kind of pressure or subjected to this kind of stick.
It is outrageous that the worst of it comes from people the public would barely remember had it not been for their association with our club … for their media paymasters, of course, that makes them ideal hatchet men and they go along with that willingly.
It was gratifying to see the manager shoot back at these muppets yesterday and yes, I understand that there’s a little grandstanding and a little deflection in what he did, but that doesn’t change the fact that these people richly deserved everything he gave them and more.