Job safe until new year
Celtic board gives Lennon extra time to save season
Backing: Neil Lennon (pic: SNS Group)
Under-pressure Celtic manager Neil Lennon has been told his job is safe until the new year.
The Parkhead board has given its backing to their boss in the face of growing calls from a disgruntled support for his sacking.
The draw at home to St Johnstone on Sunday saw Celtic slip 13 points behind Rangers at the top of the Premiership, albeit with two games in hand.
An historic 10th league title in a row is under serious threat after a series of poor performances, with things coming to a boil recently after the Glasgow giants were dumped out of the League Cup by Ross County.
Fans protesting outside Parkhead after the shock loss were involved in skirmishes with police, with more angry scenes on Sunday after the game.
Majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has so far refused to cave into the supporters’ demands, instead giving Lennon until the 2 January Ibrox showdown with Rangers to turn things round.
“In light of the ongoing speculation regarding the position of our football manager, Neil Lennon, the board of Celtic Football Club wishes to make clear its continuing support for Neil and his backroom team,” the club said.
“The board recognises and understands the importance of winning the league championship this season and that, as Neil himself has made clear, recent performances and results have been disappointing. The board is committed to delivering success for Celtic supporters.
“The board has carefully considered the current circumstances and the challenges that we are faced with, not least the pressure on the management and players to deliver the tenth championship in a row that is so important to us all.
The board believes that Neil and his management team are best placed to turn the team’s performances around and lead us on to success– Celtic FC
“Equally important is to continue to operate according to our club’s values. The board has come to the conclusion that our collective objective is best served by continuing to support Neil and his team as they seek solutions for those challenges.
“Neil has the support of the players and staff at the club. He understands the pressure and the environment. As his outstanding record as a manager, captain and player demonstrates, he knows what it takes to be successful at Celtic and he has delivered success with many of the current squad of players, who understand his method and approach.
“Whilst it has been suggested that it is time for a change, at this stage in the season the board believes that Neil and his management team are best placed to turn the team’s performances around and lead us on to success. The board continues to work closely with Neil and his team to support them as they seek to do so and progress will be reviewed in the new year.
“The board wishes to take this opportunity to thank all Celtic supporters for their support during this challenging year. The response of the support to the challenges that we all face together has been magnificent. It is therefore important to make clear that the Board has never, as it has been inaccurately reported, referred to any Celtic supporter as ‘entitled’.
“The Board recognises the range of views expressed by our supporters and the strength of those opinions.
“Whilst there may not always be agreement, there is certainly a common goal – the success of Celtic Football Club – and we will continue to work together to seek to achieve that success.”
Former Celtic captain Paul Lambert is the latest name to be linked with succeeding Lennon if there are changes.
The Ipswich Town boss joins the likes of Eddie Howe, Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan in being touted for the post should the axe fall on the Northern Irishman.