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Why Won’t Neil Lennon Acknowledge What He Got Wrong At Celtic Park?

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Neil Lennon continues to be haunted by his departure from our club. I don’t blame him, I understand why he feels like that, but it would be better for all concerned if he stopped banging on about it all. It does him no credit, and it does him no good.

Neil Lennon was a poor appointment the first time and a terrible one the second time. Nothing that happened to him in between those appointments suggested that he was a top tier manager. Nothing that has happened to him since has changed a single person’s mind. He is not rated outside of a small cadre at Celtic Park, and this is reflected in his inability to find a job on the level he believes he is capable of. Almost nobody else in football agrees with him.

Even if you believe that the way his time at Parkhead ended was grossly unfair – as he does – you need to consider that the opinion some Celtic fans have of him as a coach is shared by chairman and executives elsewhere. Nobody is beating a path back to his door. Rumours link him with this job and that, but I wonder if he will ever return to the dugout.

Yesterday I wrote about Andrew Smith’s piece on Lennon and The Mooch, and how ridiculous it was to compare those two. But it was someone on Twitter how pointed out to me that, in fact, a better comparison would have been to compare Lennon to McCoist.

They were two club icons who blotted their copybook with the fans. That comparison fell down in terms of McCoist’s accomplishments in the dugout – which were non-existent – but actually resonates when you look at what he has done since. McCoist, like Lennon, talked at length about wanting to return to management, but he never has and he never will. He is a man who has clearly made peace with that, and has settled into life as a pundit.

Lennon could easily do the same. He is interesting and engaging to listen to. For his own good, he should steer clear of management. He is not temperamentally suited to it.

His comments recently about how he lost friends because they criticised his skills in the dugout reveal an arrogance which is grossly misplaced.

He refuses to accept one iota of accountability for what went wrong for him at Parkhead and I’ve always believed, and always will, that this doesn’t just offend Celtic fans who needed to hear some kind of contrition, but it is the last thing any prospective employer wants to hear.

They want to know that you understand your own failings, recognise where you went wrong and that you’ve learned from your mistakes.

If you listen to Lennon he’s trying to tell us that if COVID hadn’t happened everything would have been fine. This is simply not true. There was already plenty about his approach which was suspect and wrong. Look at the crucial result that went against us shortly before COVID hit; the Copenhagen debacle. Lennon’s entire tenure can be summed up in that night.

After the match he talked about failures of “game management” from the players. But that’s partly down to him. When you watch the three goals they scored that night, tactical ineptitude is obvious in every single one of them, and in Lennon’s overall approach. A couple of really bad results against the Ibrox club were further evidence of a guy whose one dimensional approach had been well and truly figured out by other bosses.

One of them was Robbie Neilson at Hearts. In the Quadruple Treble final, he knew exactly what changes to make and when, and Lennon floundered in the face of them and they were able to force the game all the way to penalties.

Lennon’s revelation about how two other Celtic players breached COVID regulations alongside Bolingoli is really not one that we needed to know about either, and it paints him in a far worse light than he thinks it does. Because how the Hell could this guy have credibly punished the left back for it whilst other players got off scott-free?

If he doesn’t think that was more widely known in the dressing room he’s dead wrong. There would have been a fair few people at Celtic Park who’d have known about that and if those people weren’t sanctioned for it then he was adopting different rules depending on whether the breaches were publicly known or not, or perhaps who did it.

Either way, it’s a recipe for dressing room division and eventual collapse. Even if the club did take action within the walls – I very much doubt it based on his comments – he clearly allowed the situation to get out of control.

Strong managers are capable of controlling a dressing room and even bringing it together. But Lennon’s managerial style is of the old “bollock them and hope for results” vintage, which is useless in the current era and actually only breeds resentment.

Look, I don’t want to get into a big anti-Lennon screed here. But I think we now have to conclude that he never will acknowledge nor accept that did a single thing wrong in his time at Celtic Park, and that’s tough for a lot of our fans to hear.

Yet the real victim here is him. His refusal to accept this has cost him friends. He admits that. He would rather fall out with people who criticised him and who he thinks were lifelong bound never to do that than accept that they might have had legitimate points. It is a serious obstacle to his continuing a career in management, and every time he does it he moves a little further away from being able to reconcile himself to many of our fans.

Neil Lennon is a fool to himself. One day he has to recognise that … for his own good.

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  • Jim says:

    Narcissists are incapable of admitting they were wrong about anything. EVER.
    Simples.

    • Graham Laurie says:

      Anytime I met him, I found him to be surly and unwilling to engage in conversation unless it was with his “Cult of LENNY” lickspittles.

  • Graham Laurie says:

    He put his EGO before the good of Celtic by refusing to do the decent thing and resign before it was too late.

  • Denis Burns says:

    On a different subject. One of the most satisfying moments of the season. Kyle Laughhearty- when he set up Maeda to score the goal that put us into the final which we subsequently won. Kyle- a Celtic legend forever.

  • bertie basset says:

    i’d always wanted to believe that lennon was good for celtic , however he changed my mind when in the cup game against sevco they battered and ragdolled celtic and only for foster we’d have lost that game , it was obvious to all at half time his tactics were not working and he continued in the second half without making any changes , i was baffled by that , even more baffled the following week at celtic park when we were beaten by sevco , the same team , same tactics , he made a change with 30 minutes to go bringing on ajeti when we hadn’t crossed thehalf way line , he was clueless in those two games and he should have left the club then , he not a manager , or no way near one , however he was a fantastic footballer for the club and i’d like to remember him for that ,this should all be put to bed finally , it serves no one’s interest’s

  • SSMPM says:

    I’d have loved Lennon to have been the one to achieve TIAR particularly for the player he was and as such for his contribution to Celtic. Now I have to separate Lennon the player from Lennon the
    manager just to keep giving the player part validity.
    Jim you’re bang on – Lennon continues to lay the blame firmly on the players, actions speak louder than words

  • S Thomas says:

    Neil Lennon thinks he’s on a par with Pep Guardiola as a manager.. he’s as delusional as someone who books Frank spencer in their house to decorate it. He should do punditry and forget management. Mccoist accepted it as did Gary Neville, and both of them have taken took to punditry like a duck takes to water. He should concentrate on working in the media, because he will not get a good job in management.

  • S Thomas says:

    I liked Lennon when he was a player.. he was actually one of my favourite players during the O’Neill years. When he went into coaching and management , he sold his soul to the devil when he screwed his long time mate over. We talk about this Beale guy being at ibrox and screwing van bronckhorst over which he did by the way.. but the difference is he didn’t even know van bronckhorst. Neil Lennon screwed his pal over in Alan Thompson, and that is far worse than what Beale done. But you’ll get a lot of Lennon lovers who will just forget that happened, hypocrisy in its finest here.

    • Johnny Green says:

      What did happen then, tell us in detail the facts behind it?

      • Johnny Green says:

        C’mon Sean, tell us all what Lenny supposedly done to Thommo, you seem to know all the facts…..or are you just a Hun that hates Neil Lennon?

        • S Thomas says:

          Big Thommo didn’t speak to him for 10 years pal.. that tells its own story. The guy is all for himself.. wake up and smell the coffee. Google Thommo and Lennon and you’ll see for yourself . Lawwell and the top brass told him to deal with it.. and deal with it he did. Thommo got the bullet.. and the ego maniac lost a friendship. Sold his soul to the devil, the guys a prick. On papers the day talking a lot of pish. You still got him up your wall in his speedos or something. “ 2 other guys broke the covid rules”. He should be quiet and stop talking pish.

    • Johnny Green says:

      He sold his soul to the devil….really? It’s fkn looking oot ye!

      • S Thomas says:

        He’s acting like a guy who got dumped off a bird and he begging to get back with her with all this pish. Thommo, John Hartson, and big Sutton are held in the highest of regards by Celtic fans, he’s like marmite. Maybe if he starts saying that he made mistakes people might start forgiving him, but he still thinks it’s everybody else’s fault. Ronnie Delia is also held in great esteem by all the fan base.. because Ronnie admitted he made mistakes. Lennon blames everybody but himself, look at the comments in this blog, as well as James’s piece. You can be a fan boy all you want, that’s up to you.

  • king murdy says:

    lawwell and lennon…two arrogant, egotistical bastards…fuk both of them…

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Self important tae the last. One dimensional tactically and gerrard had the measure of him, FACT. The ‘lenny’ this and ‘lenny’ that lovers on here, would dae well tae remember, REGARDLESS OF HIS RECORD, how ‘lenny’ HID behind Desmond and Lawwell, treatin the support wi utter contempt and only comin out and tellin us wi unbeleivable crass arrogance, in what was a hugely important season for us, ‘there’s no panic’, when it was blatantly obvious, the ibrox team were runnin away wi it. And then again, when things were in freefall, beyond salvage and we were goin empty handed, tellin the support tae ‘get real’. Fuck you Lennon. It’s the support who make the club, no you. Most people RIGHTLY won’t tolerate, or forget that type of egoistic, arrogant, self-important attitude. Especially when its towards the very support that stood by ye all these past years, through all the shit that was happenin.

    • Stesano says:

      Kevan spot on!! He even went for the fans in that interview with Rory Hamilton after lille smashed us twice! Then the worst but that Ross county game at their 2 nd reached over to look at the laptop ! That cowardly move folks to to defect! That night he should been sacked!! Tho he also knows 99.9 percent of us never wanted him there and he with Desmond and lawell ruined a TREBLE, TREBLE CELTRICBRATION! Never known a feeling like that .I never want to see or hear his voice again!! But sadly we will cause he craves this shit as I said in my post! Good friends hold you accountable! Says it all about that wee amatuer!

  • Johnno says:

    Would be lying if I classed lenny as a favourite of mine either as a player but moreso as a manager.
    Maybe a ridiculous statement to be making after all the success he had with the club.
    Just was a character that I couldn’t really take to, and even though I can respect all he achieved for the club, that’s long gone with how he conducted himself in the 10iar season and even moreso since he left and continues to open his mouth and wanting to still blame everyone else except himself for his failings.
    Now many may well give him the sympathy vote for what he had to endure within the club which is fair enough, but as a manager had more terrible results than great ones as was nowhere near a tactical genius that he thinks he is as the opposite would be more appropriate for the amount of games lost with ridiculous decision making.
    Still wants to act as a puppet for liewell all without any self respect for himself and huge arrogance shown to the many who gave him such support also.
    Wouldn’t class him as a celtic legend myself at present until he can start showing a bit more of the understanding and ownership of his failings which still looks a long way off from ever happening still.

  • Michael McCann says:

    In post match interviews during his last season, Lennon admitted he didn’t know how to fix the problems on the pitch. However, instead of leaving when we still had the ability to retrieve our 10 in a row ambitions, he clung on, refusing to leave. His name is forever tarnished.

  • Hunbasher says:

    The signing of Jeremie Frimpong is what lost Celtic the League that season. He was never a right back, and was caught out of position in numerous occasions at Celtic. Shane Duffy took a lot of flack covering for him being posted missing at right back, thereby leaving a gap at centre back for all opposition teams to exploit. El Hamed should have played many more games for Celtic than he did. That would have plugged the gap. I remember texting a mate of mines in November, that if Lennon stuck with Frimpong, then the League would be gone by April. He did, and it was.

  • Stesano says:

    Lennon a total winging self entitled amatuer! Oh and real friends hold you accountable! Don’t sook up your arse like Peter McGuire ( Martin) the guys name change says it all!! Uncle Tim coward and Lennon never a Celtic man in his life either!! When he joined oh yeah but never before and that’s ok but he tries to play at being one!! Never we know our Celts Paul McStays, big Roys , Danny Mcgrains even Peter Grant ! And now Calmac!But this guy never! Rodgers even more credible oh and before anyone mentions Brendan going in his shoes Lennon wouldnt even a came!! Nahhh this guy should never be welcomed back, I like rest of our Great club fans backed him during the poison going for him, and conversesley that’s why so many can’t criticise but he blew it tho not after blowing our money on dross players we still have and never giving Calmac, Riogic or Tierney their chance either !! No that was Ronnie!! I just want’ this guy to go away for good!! Stop trading of our name !! Your done ! Go away! You ain’t relevant at all to us

  • Henriksgoldenboot says:

    Pride. Pride always comes before a fall. And that’s Lennon’s problem. He has too much pride to take the blame for any of the disasters he’s overseen in ANY of his managerial positions. The only one he could maybe be given some slack is Bolton who were in a financial maelstrom when he was there.

    I remember being on your friend Phil McGullables site James in the October of that year and I was one of the few calling for him to go them and mad Phil lost it with me and gave me one of his famous red cairds!! How could I insult one of his countrymen!! But my reasoning was I saw the cracks becoming chasims long before they did. If you look back at the season before there were the game we stuttered against Livingston and stumbled against Kilmarnock and Aberdeen before Lenny was saved by the bell that was the Convid Plandemic. And I don’t want to even mention our euro results at that time. I still believe it was his results against Lazio that have him that extra time and I still think those results are what makes him think he was and could be a great manager, he took real pride in those results, but as I said, pride comes before a fall. Pride is the deadliest of all sins! He could learn a lot from Ange! Good night and God bless HH!

  • JimBhoy says:

    Maybe Lenny has a book coming out…

    I agree with you James he should move on, keep the past where it belongs and get himself a punters gig. He talks well and if he sticks to the football can give a very good account of himself narrating the game in front of him, moreso than some of the numpties we have to listen to.

    I wish him well.

  • Tommy McQuillan says:

    I loved Lenny as a player but like you James I don’t think he should’ve got the manager’s job on either occasion that he was in the dugout and it pains me to say it but I’ve lost all respect for him over his failure to admit he got things wrong and clinging on to a job when it was evident to everyone his time was up. He should’ve walked or been sacked after the Ferencvaros ties and if not then the two 4-1 losses to Sparta Prague, if he’d gone then the ten might’ve been saved it would’ve been difficult but we could’ve done it. When he threw the players under the bus after the Ferencvaros tie and then retracted it the next day the writing was on the wall, it made him look weak and his fate was sealed for me there. Then the Dubai debacle, we as supporters could see it was a bad idea why couldn’t he or Lawell? He’s definitely a narcissist so he can’t take criticism and nothing’s ever his fault and as you rightly point out it’s to his own detriment. He took a lot of shit in his time at Celtic that nobody should have to take just for going to their work or because of their religion and there’s no place for it in society and for that he’ll always have my sympathy and it pains me to say this as he was a hero of mine as a player but I’m beginning to dislike him now. I never thought I’d say that about any Celtic player but he’s made a rod for his own back by not admitting he’s fallible and makes mistakes like the rest of us, but it’s like he’s whingeing to anyone who’ll listen now and it’s becoming boring now.

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