Neil Lennon defended himself and his performance at today’s press conference, and he said that the board is standing by him.
The latest argument he’s deployed in his favour is that we can do nothing if the opposition – i.e. the club across the city – makes a good start.
So now this isn’t down to the players not being on form, or the “culture” in the dressing room or any of that stuff … this is about how brilliant the Ibrox team is.
Just when you think this couldn’t get any more ridiculous or surreal …
Here’s the thing. They’ve played 15 games over there this season.
They have already dropped points twice.
Had we been able to beat them or even get a point they’d have dropped points in one game out of five.
We have played 13 games, and dropped points in four. A good run of victories – which our team is well capable of – would have had us top of the table.
The problem is in our own house. It is nothing to do with the club across the city; their own form is not in the least bit relevant to how badly we are playing. We have won two games in eight. We have suffered catastrophic defeats in Europe.
Our match against the Ibrox club was a disgrace in which we didn’t register a single shot on target.
The manager defended his record; parts of that record reek of mediocrity. Cluj and Copenhagen were shocking. Worse has come this season. The drop in standards between this season and last is stark and clear. The loss of form is obvious, even in games we’ve won.
Lennon is allowed to defend his record, of course, but every manager in the game points backwards, at his record, at his achievements and all of them try to hide behind them to an extent. Mourinho has a record which is as good as any in the modern game, and I’ve heard him do this many, many times when he is under pressure.
It hasn’t stopped chairman at various clubs from sacking him, even at Chelsea, where as he pointed out (correctly) domestically, he is the most successful manager in their history and aside perhaps from Ferguson, the most successful manager in the EPL era.
Yet Chelsea have “mutually consented” him twice.
Because big clubs do what has to be done, when it has to be done.
They do not wait for the disaster; they act before it happens.
Our fans were told, not that long ago, that we were a Champions League team.
Now we’re being told that no-one inside the club is panicking in a campaign where a third tier team has knocked us out of that competition at home in a match where the manager didn’t think we should field a striker, a campaign in which we’re well behind in the league, a campaign in which the form has been dreadful and the performances worse. A campaign where a fourth seed team’s B-side came to Celtic Park not three weeks ago and absolutely turned us over, winning 4-1, a result that did not flatter them.
That was the night that broke a lot of us, the night we stopped trying to pretend this could be fixed, the night a lot of scales fell off a lot of eyes and the harsh reality of where we are dawned.
That night showed us all where this team currently is, and if we accept this, if we accept performances and results like that one, then we might as well chuck it right now and cash in what’s left of our chips.
Give Lennon the season, and if you’re going to do that give him next season and a wage rise as well, because if this is acceptable I don’t know where we draw the line.
If we’re willing to tolerate this drop in standards, we have no standards left.