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Neil Lennon: Celtic players have to look at themselves and fulfill their personal responsibilities

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Proud man: Under-fire Celtic boss Neil Lennon

Proud man: Under-fire Celtic boss Neil Lennon

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Proud man: Under-fire Celtic boss Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon appealed to Celtic players' professional pride ahead of the trip to Kilmarnock this evening.

The Lurgan man described Saturday's 2-1 defeat by St Mirren at Parkhead as the "lowest" point of his two spells as Hoops boss.

The reigning champions have one win in six and are 23 points behind Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers, having played two games fewer, and with the aim of a 10th successive title looking to be over.

The former Celtic captain insists his players can do much better.

He said: "You've got to have your professional pride so I am hoping for a reaction.

"To lose games is bitterly disappointing and, off the back of a really good performance last Wednesday (against Hamilton), we failed to show consistency of performance again.

"They have it in them, there is plenty of evidence of that, they just need to find a rhythm of playing well and winning games.

"You express disappointment at the level of performance and players have to look at themselves and say, 'can I play better, can I get myself in better condition, can I do more for the team, can I do more for the club, can I do more for the manager?' And the answer is yes.

"Regardless of whether they respond to me or not, they have their own personal responsibility and pride in their performances as individuals and as a collective.

"The bottom line is the players can play better. I have a lot of faith in them.

"I was really disappointed in them at the weekend, there is no point in hiding away from that.

"It is simply not up to the standards we ask of them or we believe they can produce.

"So the result and performance was really disappointing, and I don't think the players would disagree with that either."

Meanwhile, Lennon's goalkeeper Scott Bain admits this season has been "strange" as he looks to cement his place as Celtic's No.1.

The 29-year-old Scotland international, who initially signed on loan from Dundee in January 2018, fell out of the picture last season when on-loan Fraser Forster dominated the position with Craig Gordon also in the squad.

When both Forster and Gordon left in the summer, Celtic signed Greece international Vasilis Barkas from AEK Athens for a reported fee of around £5million but his lack of form saw him replaced by Bain, with Northern Ireland youngster Conor Hazard breaking through before the end of the year.

All three keepers have been used in 2021 but Bain was reinstated as No.1 by boss Lennon against Hamilton last week - his first appearance since November - and kept his place for the 2-1 defeat by St Mirren on Saturday.

Asked to sum up his season so far as he prepared for the trip to Kilmarnock, Bain said: "Strange, it has been a strange one, difficult, I have been out and I have been in, out the squad again and back in again.

"It has been a strange one but I have tried to keep going, training every day and keep my motivation high, keep my confidence as high as I possibly can through my own actions at training every day.

"Hopefully I can get a run of games put together and help build my confidence going forward.

"It was difficult last year as well. But I always come into training every day with a smile on my face and try to work hard and keep my attitude right, as hard as it can be, as low as you can get, but I feel that maybe the fact that I have kept working hard and kept my attitude right the whole time has led me to getting back in the team."

Belfast Telegraph


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