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Let down, but Neil Lennon 'can't survive' latest Celtic shocker

He vows to fight on amid fan protests but even pal Sutton says the end is in sight


Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon

Embattled Neil Lennon was last night clinging to his job as Celtic manager after another damaging defeat, this time losing 2-0 at home to Ross County.

The latest Lennon setback saw Celtic knocked out of the Betfred League Cup, which they hold, just three days after exiting the Europa League in a 4-1 thumping by Sparta Prague.

As angry fans converged to mount a noisy protest against the manager outside Parkhead, police sent up a helicopter to monitor the situation and a dozen police vans lined up outside the main stand. From inside, Lennon could hear the chants, calling on him to go now.

The Lurgan man is set for more talks with the Celtic hierarchy today, after defiantly vowing to fight on. Following Sunday's defeat, he insisted he could turn around after a dismal run of two wins in 10 matches, leaving them 11 points behind rejuvenated rivals Rangers in their quest for an historic tenth successive Scottish League title.

But even his previously supportive friend and former Celtic team-mate, turned TV pundit, Chris Sutton, admitted: "Neil Lennon has been badly let down by his players, but he can't survive this. He's been a great servant to the club.

"It's the manager has to carry the can, I think we all have to accept that, you can't blame his backroom staff."

Sutton also rounded on the anti-Lennon protesters, adding: "The people protesting outside Celtic Park can't call themselves Celtic fans. True Celtic fans wouldn't be singing despicable songs about a man who has given the club the service Neil Lennon has. They are a disgrace.

"Neil Lennon can't stay on after that, but I think he deserves a lot more respect than fans gathering outside the ground. Singing for his head? I mean, come on. Come on. That's not good enough."

None of that will help Lennon's case with the curtain now almost certain to come down on his second spell at the club, possibly even as early as today.

But he still insisted he is the man to lead Celtic to a 12th consecutive domestic trophy when they take on Hearts in last season's delayed Scottish Cup final on December 20 - and that he could reel in Rangers in the title race.

Asked if he would understand if the Celtic board took the decision to remove him, Lennon said: "No, I think it's too soon for that. We have lost one trophy, that's gone. Our priority is the league, it always is, every time we come into a season.

"We are out of Europe, so it's not been great, but there's plenty of time to turn it around. But it's alright me saying that, we have to show it with action now.

"I think I should get more time at it but, if not, then so be it."

Belfast Telegraph