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Neil Lennon hailed 'fantastic manager' as Celtic extend winning run to five games

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon has come under criticism from sections of the club's support this season.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has come under criticism from sections of the club's support this season.

PA

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has come under criticism from sections of the club's support this season.

Neil Lennon has been hailed as a 'fantastic manager' after Celtic extended their winning run to five games on Wednesday night.

The Hoops defeated an out-of-form Aberdeen at Celtic Park to leave their visitors with just one victory in 10 outings but bring their own recent run to five successes on the trot.

There have been 13 goals scored in that run and only two conceded to create the type of form more becoming of reigning champions.

In truth, even though Lennon isn't conceding the race just yet, it will be too little, too late to save their bid for 10-in-a-row, with Rangers 15 points clear and requiring only another 15 from their final nine games to see their name etched on the Premiership trophy for the first time since 2011.

However, Celtic's resurgence may not be too late to protect the manager's job, with the club still in the midst of a review.

Chief executive Peter Lawwell will step aside to be replaced by Scottish Rugby's Dominic McKay at the end of June, but Lennon has already begun putting plans in place for next season with the signing of Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Liam Shaw on a pre-contract agreement earlier this week.

At various stages over the course of a campaign that has seen exits from the Scottish League Cup, Champions League and Europa League compound the topsy-turvy league form, Lennon has come under fire from sections of the club's support demanding a change.

But, after David Turnbull's goal was enough to secure the Wednesday win, assistant manager John Kennedy poured praise on his boss.

"Neil has been terrific," Kennedy said. "He has come under a lot of pressure and scrutiny.

“But he’s a terrific guy, a terrific manager, and works hard. He spends a lot of time at the training ground.

“We do a lot of work together and we aren’t shying away and saying the season has been fine. It hasn’t and we have underperformed.

“We have had a high bar in terms of what everyone expects and we haven’t quite got to the level we have wanted to, or expected to.

“Neil has been great with myself and the staff. He has been very calm too. In the past Neil was fiery and emotional but he has stayed very calm.

“He has been clear in where we need to go to get improvements and albeit we are behind, in recent games it has been a lot better.”

Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Tony Pulis predicts this week's recruit Shaw will prove a 'terrific signing' for Celtic and also lent his backing to the club's recently under-fire boss.

 “I’ve got great respect for Lenny. He’s a good manager who has done an unbelievable job," he told the Daily Record.

“Neil has done a magnificent job at Celtic and doesn’t deserve some of the criticism for one bad season.

“I know things haven’t gone as planned but I know from experience there can be mitigating circumstances which people don’t see and you can’t always make public.

“I understand that everything is heightened in Scotland this season because of 10 In A Row and all that but Neil is a good manager.”

Next up for Celtic is a trip to Ross County on Sunday, with Rangers hosting Dundee United earlier in the day.

Belfast Telegraph


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