NEIL Lennon questions future in Scottish football after abuse forces him to leave stadium; Stefan Johansen vows to fill void left by Joe Ledley; John Hughes declares Inverness should play Scottish League Cup final in Glasgow, plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Lennon casts doubt over future in Scottish football
Celtic manager Neil Lennon expressed doubt over his ability to work in Scotland after being forced to leave a football stadium amid a torrent of abuse from fans while he was watching a game.
The 42-year-old was spat at, had coins thrown at him and was the subject of verbal abuse while sitting in stand at Tynecastle Stadium.
He was forced to leave the cup semi-final between Aberdeen and St Johnstone in Edinburgh 20 minutes before the end of the match on Saturday.
When asked if there would come a time where he would say enough is enough, Lennon said: “I’m sure, yeah. That’s when you’ve got to say ‘well, maybe you need to look at something else in your life if you can’t go to a game and enjoy it when you’re out working.’ (Scotsman)
John Hughes: Give Inverness Glasgow final
Inverness’ dramatic penalty-shootout victory over Hearts in the Scottish League Cup semi-final was a victory for “hard-working people”, said manager John Hughes as he called for the final to be staged in Glasgow.
Despite being reduced to nine men, Inverness overcame Hearts after the game ended 2-2 after extra time.
And Hughes said the win was a reward for his side.
“Victory is all the sweeter for us as we had to travel from Inverness for a 12.15 kick-off in Hearts’ backyard.
“We might not be the most glamorous club in the world but I’m not patronising anyone when I say this is a victory for honest, hard-working people who deserve their day in the sun. “I want to go to Glasgow for the final. Personally, I’d come back to Easter Road but we should play at Ibrox or Celtic Park while Hampden’s out of commission.” (Daily Record)
Neil Lennon praises Forster’s shut-out record
NEIL Lennon believes Fraser Forster’s pursuit of further clean sheet landmarks will ensure Celtic remain fully focused on the remainder of their Scottish Premiership campaign.
Forster racked up his 11th consecutive league shut-out in yesterday’s 1-0 win over St Mirren at Celtic Park, eclipsing the previous club record set by celebrated goalkeeper Charlie Shaw back in 1914 and 1922.
England international Forster is now closing in on a clutch of other successive clean sheet records. He is one short of both the all-time Scottish best of 12, posted by Aberdeen goalkeeper Bobby Clark in 1970-71, and Shaw’s Celtic mark of 13 in all domestic matches achieved in season 1913-14.
“The record Fraser set today is something we are all very proud of. We certainly don’t take it for granted. These are special times for the players. When they look back on their time here, they can reflect on this as quite an achievement. To break such a long-standing record is absolutely fantastic.” (Scotsman)
Gary Locke: Inverness loss biggest blow
Hearts boss Gary Locke said that his side had “thrown away” the chance to manouever past Inverness to reach the Scottish League Cup final. Speaking after his side’s penalty-shootout loss after the game endd 2-2 in extra time, Locke said: “It’s very difficult to take, but we’ve no-one else to blame apart from ourselves,” Locke said after his team had lost the shoot-out to nine-man Caley Thistle. “We’re in a good position, a minute to go, we get a corner – and we stupidly give the ball away. They go up the pitch and get an equaliser. So it’s a sore one to take.
“In extra time we didn’t move the ball quickly enough. We tried to force things and were caught running with the ball instead of moving it quicker, then when we did get into good areas our final ball let us down. I think you’ve got to give Inverness credit – they defended brilliantly in extra time. But we certainly made it easier for them because we didn’t move the ball quick enough, and the disappointing thing is we didn’t create enough chances in extra time. (Scotsman)
Stefan Johansen: I can fill Ledley void
Celtic midfielder Stefan Johansen has promised Celtic fans that he can ably replace Joe Ledley, who left the club in the closing hours of the January transfer window.
Johansen, who signed from Stromsgodset last month, put in a man-of-the-match performance against St Mirren, helping his side win 1-0.
Though he admitted being saddened by the Welshman’s departure, he said Ledley’s move to Crystal Palace also presented an opportunity for him to stake his claim for a regular place in the team.
“I think it was bad that Joe left the club because he was a fantastic player and I could have learned a lot from him. But that is how football is, players come, players leave and you just need to make the best of what you have.” (Daily Express)