Surely Lennon Cannot Believe That He Could Return To Celtic For A Third Time?

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Before I start, let me say that I’m not the one asking this question because I find the very idea of us debating the next manager whilst Brendan Rodgers should be getting our full support is distasteful at best and potentially counter-productive.

On top of that, before we get underway with the subject matter, I’ll give you the answer to the central question as I see it. I don’t actually believe that Neil Lennon sees himself returning to Celtic Park as manager for a third time.

But as this is being discussed widely now, in no small part because of the confluence of events around our club, and the idea that if we lost any further points before the January break that we might be forced to confront a horrible possibility, I want to just briefly go over what I can’t be alone in viewing as a truly nightmarish scenario.

And actually, I’m going to throw a worse one at you.

Let me say this; there are good reasons why people are concerned about this. I don’t believe it myself, but I can understand why other people do.

First, Lennon has suggested that he’d love to return to the club.

The board’s announcement sacking him was coached in very warm terms, much warmer than many other fired managers have had. Based on what I read online, Lennon still has a very large and vocal fan club. If we had to sack a manager mid-season, to save a close title race, the board know they could not promote from within … so there might be a certain dark attraction to an idea like this.

To most fans, the idea seems quite mad. But it seemed quite mad when he was appointed in the aftermath of Rodgers’ first resignation. And I know that there’s not such much been a re-writing of history for some people as to why Lennon’s team collapsed in the ten in a row season as there has been a complete failure to accept it for what it was.

A lot of people in our support think Lennon got a raw deal. They blame the collapse on the absence of fans; indeed, I’ve seen people raise the fear that The Green Brigade’s absence from Celtic Park is having the same effect this season. It is not.

Definitely the absence of the fans played a part in that season, but Lennon’s results had been wavering prior to COVID and his tactical naivety was an accepted fact.

It wasn’t that there were no fans in the grounds but that Lennon lost the dressing room by throwing the players under the bus; if there’s a similarly here it might lie there, as Rodgers and the team are clearly at odds on some things. But we’re not yet at the point of total collapse.

Our directors have utter contempt for us. Lawwell is a particular fan of Lennon as he’s made clear. But even he surely knows that having played that card he cannot play it again, and Lennon isn’t daft and he must know that as well. It would never fly. It would render the club a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. The media here would have a field day.

The backlash from the stands can only be imagined. It would have to be seen to believed. Even those who still like Lennon would surely not tolerate his return, under any circumstances. It would betray our board as lacking in even the most rudimentary ambition or imagination, and would strip away any remaining artifice that we are run better than competently.

My bigger concern, as it happens, is Scott Brown.

They might well believe that his appointment would represent some wretched version of progress and that it might even be perceived that way. That they don’t really understand the fan-base is not something anyone can have the slightest doubt about; they believed the timing of the Lennon appointment last time might prevent the backlash against it.

So, its perfectly plain that they are capable of the sort of misjudgement that hiring Brown, even in an interim capacity, would represent, based on the perception that it might actually be popular in the stands. And there would be a desire on the part of a lot of people to give our former captain a chance to show us what he can do … and so the terrible implications of such an appointment might be set aside whilst we rallied behind him.

Or at least that’s how they might view it, and that’s why it honestly scares me more than Lennon does.

It’s why if this team did collapse, I would be sweating every time Brown’s name appeared in the papers, as it would from the very first day, just as Lennon’s did the last time and looked almost inevitable from the time Rodgers’ departure was confirmed.

Rodgers needs to succeed, folks. He needs to, and not just because this league title depends on it. If our board is forced into changing the manager, do you trust their judgement enough to bring in the right person?

Do you trust that they won’t turn to one of their mates, no matter how ridiculous that appointment turned out to be? If Brown got it on an interim basis, do you trust that they wouldn’t just give it to him permanently? They did it with Lennon not once but twice; they appointed him in an interim capacity and then gave him the job.

The league title after this one might depend on it as well … and the one after that … and the one after that, as long as these people are still in their posts.

More on that subject later on.

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  • Johnny Green says:

    Do you know what? I actually detest that term regarding managers throwing players ‘under the bus’ What does it actually signify, what are misguided people actually suggesting by it? Are they saying that a manager cannot criticise his players if they are not putting in enough effort? Really, for the rest of us, the fans, we say it and rightly so if it is deserved at the time. We cannot always say that the buck stops at the manager, that he is ultimately responsible for the players attitudes, that he has lost the dressing room etc. Criticising players by putting a rocket up their arses is sometimes justified and necessary. Not so on a weekly basis perhaps, but it is acceptable now and again as a wake up call. Managers are human and they are entitled to voice their concerns, and the term ‘throwing the players under the bus’ is out of order and way too over dramatic in my opinion.

    • Hugh says:

      Criticising players for having a bad day is not throwing them under a bus. Repeatedly stating that he needs better quality is and in saying that he is letting it be known that there are a few in the side who’s days are numbered whithout naming names. How must players feel about their future at the club. Better had he said that the we need more experience to help develop the younger ones. would this leave players in a better state of mind. Rogers got it very wrong here and it is showing on the field.

      • Johnny Green says:

        When players hear Brendan say that he needs better quality, then they should redouble their efforts to make sure it’s not their coats that are on a shoogly nail. His message regarding quality is aimed mainly at the hierarchy at Celtic Park responsible for potential incoming signings and let’s hope they are listening as intently as the players.

        My comment wasn’t actually about Brendan Rodgers in particular, but about any manager supposedly throwing their players under a bus.

        • Hugh says:

          I agree, managers should not put their players down in public, seems sometimes like an excuse for their own failings. I also agree that he was referring to the hierarchy to bring in better quality but the players read into that that they do not have what he is looking for. To redouble effort on the field of play or at training will not make that silk purse out of the sows ear. You might get more effort but no paul McStays or Lubos’ will develop overnight, we need a few hardened Pros’ to help out.

  • Zeddy says:

    No Lennon, No Brown, No Crown !! ?

  • Johnny Green says:

    Incidentally, both as a player and manager I loved Neil Lennon, but he has had his day and I don’t want to see him returning.

  • Graham Laurie says:

    If ANY former Celtic captain had to return to the club as manager, then Paul Lambert should get the nod ahead of Lennon or Broony as he has had success at the top of English Football. Davie Moyes would be my first pick though given what he has and is STILL achieving at West Ham.

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      @ GL. Paul Lambert ?! Ye havin a laugh ? Aye he did well at Norwich, bolted for the money and everythin he did in management after that turned tae shit. Ye must be jokin.

  • Oliver says:

    great article!
    Lennon can never manage Celtic again.
    Brown has a lot to do before he can even be mentioned

  • Dan Dwan says:

    Lennon as Director Of Football and Brown as Manager!!
    Only joking James but I wonder if it’s crossed Lawwell’
    mind— many a true word was spoken in jest after all!
    The next couple weeks is going to tell a lot, will Rodgers get the bhoys firing again?? nothing but full points will suffice now starting with a thumping for our visitors on Saturday. It’s certainly the most crucial Christmas/ New Year period for many a year with 3 must win games and a transfer window which could determine our season and ultimately Rodgers fate.

  • BroxburnBhoy says:

    My opinion is that we are having a blip in performance due to multiple injuries to first team players and a different playing system being learned. Could we have brought in better players – yes. Should we yes AND the players we have including those out injured are good enough to win the SPL. The Board are messing this up generally by being too cautious and interfering in who we buy. Time for Lawell to retire.

  • Bob (original) says:

    After the Howe fiasco and then the ‘Lennon in the showers’ debacle,

    I wouldn’t trust anyone on the Board to get the messages! 🙁

    Wouldn’t be a surprise at all, if the Board tried to sell us a

    Lennon / Brown management ‘dreamteam’ in the future.

    It’s so ridiculous, that it’s believable with our dysfunctional Board.

    Nepotism and cronyism is the order of the day: who needs to look at CV’s ?

  • Roonsa says:

    I breathed a massive sigh of relief when Lennon was sacked. I knew the season was done but I thought it would give us time to rebuild and that worked. Time hasn’t softened my opinion on Lennon in the same way it did with Brendan coming back as I was really pissed off when Brendan left us (albeit I understood why).

    When I Google Neil Lennon and click on the “New” link, I don’t see any stories about him coming back. Not at the top of the list anyway and I did go a fair bit down. He does talk about being baffled at the fans anger towards the board, though. And therein lies the main reason why I don’t want him back.

    We need to start a Trump-like revolt against the “elite”.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Imo the board and lennon both have the sheer brass neck tae try such a stunt, ah’ve nae doubts about that whatsoever. Another one doin the rounds, is KT returnin and again imo, the board could dae somethin like this, tho only as some effort tae ‘appease’ the support, while other more important areas get neglected. Keeper, centre forward, mid stopper, centre half. Nothin against KT btw and wouldn’t mind seeing him back, it’s the board ah don’t trust one bit.

  • Frank Connelly says:

    I keep reading that the team struggling with the new system. I havent seen any difference. We still have Taylor and Johnston bolstering midfield but the difference for me is that we seem unable to get our mid players into the box in numbers. The main difference being passing is far to slow going across the park or back the way and no cutting edge which we had last year. Look at the possession stats and corner count against the wee huns and we never looked like scoring

  • Eldraco says:

    They would’nt dare lennon or brown. Its unfathomable when its the CEO and head of football recruting that need walk firstly.

  • Michael Clark says:

    The whole collapse at Celtic Park is a mistery but whatever is going wrong its going wrong quickly. Since Ange Postecoglou has left Celtic have went in a backward direction. This is basically the same team which is more reason for concern We have regularly had to come from behind and we have been lucky to get away with this far but our luck is running out. We’ve lost the washbuckling approach which teams feared. Celtic are on the verge of handing the title over to Rangers, I’ll bet they can’t believe their luck

  • George Smith says:

    It would be disappointing to see Lennon back, I thank him for his service and good luck to him for the foreseeable future. As for Rodgers he has half a season to change his fortune, I know Celtic lost a a couple of players in the summer. But the bulk of the team have remained. I won’t to critical in Europe, but domestically they have been bad even most if the games we won bad performances. Ange should the world how Celtic could play and it anything less is unacceptable ?

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