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'Scourge of society': Neil Lennon has not deserved vicious criticism as social media adds further scrutiny to unique world at Celtic and Rangers, says Stephen Robinson

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Celtic boss Neil Lennon

Celtic boss Neil Lennon

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Celtic boss Neil Lennon

One of the first people to contact Stephen Robinson after he resigned as Motherwell boss was Neil Lennon.

Robinson appreciated the gesture from his countryman and revealed he has always been able to count on the Celtic manager's support.

Lennon is going through tough times at Parkhead on and off the pitch at present, with many believing his second spell in charge of the Hoops is coming to an end.

Robinson insisted Lennon has great strength of character and faith in himself and pointed out the pressure on a Celtic or Rangers manager is like nowhere else.

While Robinson knows winning is everything for the Old Firm, he is adamant that Lennon, given the success he has delivered to the club as player and manager, has not deserved the vicious criticism he has received from Celtic supporters and elsewhere of late after falling streets behind Steven Gerrard's table-topping Rangers in what Hoops fans felt would be their 10 titles in a row season.

"It is incredible for someone like Neil, with all that he has achieved, to have taken the stick he has this season. Unfortunately social media now drives everything. It is a scourge of society for me," Robinson told the Belfast Telegraph.

"People should consider what Celtic have done over the past nine seasons, and Lenny has been a key part of that in two spells. He has been very successful and I don't think his record as a manager is in question.

"Lenny is a strong boy and he has total belief in what he does. I speak as I find, and he has been very good and supportive with me and has always been there. He was one of the first people to text me when I resigned.

"When people aren't based in Scotland I'm not sure they realise the intensity and the scrutiny on the Rangers or Celtic manager.

"I don't think there is anywhere in the world that gets that kind of scrutiny. It is a unique situation with the amount of press coverage in Scotland and your life not being your own, and that's even for two guys like Steven and Neil who have played at the highest levels.

"As for the title race, it is going to be very difficult for Celtic to catch Rangers, who have a big head start.

"Both sides are miles ahead of anyone else in the division, as they should be with what they are able to put into their playing squads. Rangers are a top-class outfit and so well organised and drilled and have a shape that works for them."

An influential figure for Rangers in their unbeaten league campaign to date has been Robinson's former Northern Ireland team-mate and record caps holder Steven Davis, still shining in midfield at the age of 36.

"It doesn't surprise me that Davo is still such a fantastic player. He is a top-class professional. You don't get that many caps (124 to date) for your country unless you are a special player," said Robinson.

"Football management is now getting harder and harder. Players can't take any kind of criticism and they are molly coddled massively, but Davo is old school and he is easy maintenance, which is crucial to a manager.

"Steven Gerrard said recently he was a pleasure to work with and everyone has a good word to say about Davo. That tells you all you need to know. He has been a top player for years and still is."

Belfast Telegraph


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