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Lennon needs change of luck to save job at Celtic

By Graham Luney

Neil Lennon has been living a boyhood dream at Celtic, but that dream is rapidly becoming a nightmare.

If the Hoops don’t win the Scottish Premier League this season, the Lurgan man will be on his bike, but the current signs are that he’ll be taking to the road much sooner.

The fans’ frustrations have reached such a level that their patience shown to Lenny is wearing thin.

The Bhoys have finished second to their city rivals Rangers for the past three years and are already 10 points behind the Ibrox side this term.

Lennon knows the score, saying: “I'm going to be under pressure because the fans will demand that results have to be better. And, if results are not better soon, then I will have to look at my own position.”

Perhaps the former Northern Ireland international doesn’t have the experience to turn things around. With a game in hand and three Old Firm matches still to come, all is not lost, but the outlook is bleak for the man who won 40 international caps.

Celtic have already lost three games this season — over the whole of the last campaign they lost only four games. Alarm bells are ringing. Lennon is no stranger to adversity and while he has always been a fighter, those fighting qualities need to come to the surface now.

Any Celtic manager cannot survive two seasons without the title, but worryingly for Lennon, his players don’t appear capable of rising to the occasion or handling the pressure.

And the former Celtic and Leicester City player has also been undermined by a lack of support from the club’s Board.

Where were the experienced signings in the summer to add invention? Lennon has also been unfortunate on the injury front with Scott Brown, Beryam Kayal, Joe Ledley, Kelvin Wilson and Emilio Izaguirre crocked. If the Bhoys can’t get their act together very soon Lennon will walk the plank soon — poor performances from his players will shape his behaviour more than the lunatic actions of those who despise him.

Lesser men than Lennon would have walked away after being subjected to death threats and even an on-pitch assault.

The 40-year-old must also look south with envious eyes.

As the ink was drying on his new contract at Celtic that secured him £200,000 a year, Chelsea gave Andre Villas-Boas a golden handshake and a deal worth £4.4m per annum.

Lennon must think he’s left standing with a tiny slice of football’s financial cake. His contract is also a one-year rolling deal which means that either party can call time on the arrangement without paying any compensation.

It is similar to the deals Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan had at Celtic, but it suggested a lack of confidence in a man who has already had his credentials, character and mentality for the job severely tested.

After what he had to endure last season, Lennon deserves all the luck he can get — and he needs it now more than ever.

Belfast Telegraph

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