Humiliating defeat turns up the heat on Lennon
Celtic 1 Sparta Prague 4
Benfica 3 Rangers 3
Eastadio da Luz
Change: Neil Lennon (pic: SNS Group)
Neil Lennon was facing increasing pressure after seeing Celtic suffer one of the club’s worst European defeats amid a run of poor form.
Already nine points adrift of Rangers in the Premiership, the Scottish champions are now rooted to the bottom of their Europa League group after a nightmare performance at Parkhead.
The depleted Czechs were given little chance before the game but they outplayed the home side with some ease to run out comfortable winners.
Poor defending had Celtic 2-0 down at the interval and despite substitute Leigh Griffiths handing his side a lifeline after 65 minutes, it was a false dawn.
With Celtic’s defence in disarray, Sparta netted twice in the last 13 minutes to register a deserved victory which leaves the Celts without a win from three games.
The manner of the defeat, which all but eliminated Celtic from Europe, will be a major concern for Lennon as his players lacked the hunger and desire to compete against a team which on paper they should have been far too strong for.
It was a third home defeat in a row for the first time in 30 years for Celtic, who now have just one win in six games.