Neil Lennon insists ‘there’s no panic’ at Celtic amid calls for his departure
Neil Lennon described Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell as “very, very supportive” on the day some Hoops fans very publicly called for the manager’s departure.
A banner held up outside Parkhead read, ‘Save the 10 – time to go Neil’ and the Green Brigade, the ultras section of the Celtic support, also released a statement which called for Lawwell and the board to act quickly lest the chance to make it 10 in a row is missed.
Celtic came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Hibernian on Saturday but it ultimately left them with two wins out of their last eight games in all competitions and 11 points behind Premiership leaders Rangers, albeit the Hoops have two games in hand.
Ahead of the Europa League clash with Sparta Prague on Thursday, boss Lennon said: “Obviously all of us are not happy with the way things are panning out at the minute.
“But there is a calmness about Peter and the board. There’s no panic.
“We have been over the course and distance many times before.
“I speak to Peter every day. He is very, very supportive, as he is with the players and my backroom team as well.
“So it is as you are – let’s get improvement, let’s get some wins, let’s play the type of football we know we are capable of which we showed in the last 20 minutes at Easter Road and we will be absolutely OK.”
Referring to the banner, Lennon said: “It is disappointing but fans are entitled to voice their opinion, whether I agree with it or not is irrelevant, they have put it out there.
We have made a better start to the league than we did two years ago when we went on to win the treble.
“It’s something that I am not really going to engage with, I’ve got a job to do here and I think I’ve done it pretty well since I came back in.”
Lennon insists Celtic’s start to the season has elicited “a lot of hysteria and a little bit of panic” and called for perspective as the club can secure an unprecedented quadruple domestic treble with a win over Hearts in next month’s William Hill Scottish Cup final.
“The bottom line is we haven’t made that bad a start to the season in terms of the league,” said the former Celtic skipper, who will be without Leigh Griffiths in the Czech Republic due to a knee injury but able call on fit-again defenders Christopher Jullien and Hatem Elhamed.
“We have lost one game and I have touched on the draws where if they had been wins, we would have been sitting in a very good position.
“We have made a better start to the league than we did two years ago when we went on to win the treble.
“Since I have come back we have won four trophies in a row. The team has won 11 in a row and have the chance to win 12.
“We are going through a sticky patch if you want to call it that, all teams do and good teams come out the other end and so do good managers and that’s what I firmly believe we will do.”
Celtic were beaten 4-1 by Sparta Prague earlier in the month to leave them with one point from three group games and Lennon knows the return fixture is crucial.
He said: “We have to win tomorrow to stand any chance of qualifying.
“So that is our sole focus now, going to Prague and trying to win the game.
“In the first game here, it was probably as disappointing as we have been for a while so it is important that we motivate ourselves to correct that.”