Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish

The buck stops with me, says fuming Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon will take all the blame after his Celtic side flopped in Europe again with a 3-1 Europa League defeat by Sion at the Stade de Tourbillon.

The small band of Celtic fans who made the trip to Switzerland vented their fury at the end of the game, which ended 3-1 on aggregate, to the extent that skipper Scott Brown could not cajole his team-mates to go over to applaud them at the end of the game.

There were also some ugly scenes when the players left the stadium to board the team bus.

However, Lennon, who now has to prepare for the trip to St Mirren Park tomorrow in the SPL, takes full responsibility.

"The buck stops at me," the former Northern Ireland international said. "I picked the team so there is no point in blaming the players or anyone else.

"I am the manager so I have to take responsibility. I felt we were good enough to get through over two games and we prepared as well as we could for it.

"My job means everything to me. I am not going to get myself in to a tizzy about it or have a panic but I know that there are people in the club who are disappointed so I have to try to turn things round pretty quickly.

"I don't think it is the end of the world. It is for the European side of things but domestically we are fine." Asked if he now faces the biggest challenge of his career, the former Celtic skipper said: "As a manager yes, it has been a difficult week. But I have had worse weeks in my life.

"The fact that I can't take the team through to the group stages is very galling for me."

There is a chance that Celtic could win what would be a remarkable reprieve.

Lennon is hoping the Parkhead club will be reinstated in to the competition on a technicality as Sion face a charge of breaking a signing embargo - and he has been backed by Uefa president Michel Platini.

Platini said: "What is happening there is the rules have not been respected. FC Sion has not respected the rules of the transfer ban - they signed players and then played those players."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph