8 Neil Lennon quotes from the 2020/21 campaign that sum up Celtic's season

With Neil Lennon having left Celtic for a third time following his second spell as manager, the dust will take a bit of time to settle as speculation mounts over his successor against a backdrop of underwhelming performances.

Neil Lennon cuts an animated figure on the touchline in January as Celtic take on St Mirren

There were certainly signs that not all was well in some of this comments during an unforgettable campaign.

We’ve picked out a selection of his most noteworthy quotes…

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“The whole squad is negative bar two players. I think that is remarkable”

Said in the aftermath of 13 players plus assistant boss John Kennedy and Lennon himself having to self-isolate after a player tested positive for Covid-19 on the squad’s return from the controversial training camp in Dubai. The tone-deafness of this remark (which was then followed up by Lennon taking aim at the media, pundits, and the Scottish government) and his refusal to apologise for, well, anything wasn't a great look, all things considered – especially when one of the players who tested positive was injured defender Christopher Jullien.

“If there needs to be a change, so be it”

Lennon uttered this in the aftermath of a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone in December. At that point, Rangers were 13 points clear but the Hoops had two games in hand - and some supporters felt if he resigned it would give the team a chance of clawing back the lead in the title race. But he didn’t, so they didn't.

"I won’t walk away, absolutely. A month ago we won the treble”

Lennon said this in the wake of a 2-2 draw at Livingston. While he wasn’t wrong about winning the treble, Celtic had huffed and puffed against Hearts in the Scottish Cup final, needing extra time and penalties to win the trophy. The draw in West Lothian was also the fourth game on the bounce without a win.

"I don’t feel under any pressure at all. I don’t feel that I should be under any pressure either”

Part of post-match comments after a Diego Laxalt injury-time goal had rescued a point for Celtic away to Hibs. Celtic then lost 4-1 to Sparta Prague five days later; exited the Betfred Cup via a 2-0 home defeat by Ross County; threw away a two-goal lead at the San Siro to lose 4-2 to AC Milan, and then drew at home with St Johnstone. Perhaps he should have felt pressure.

"I had a long chat with Peter [Lawwell] and Dermot Desmond today, we are totally united, totally together and totally determined that we will make it into a good season”

Uttered on November 27 2020, the day after Celtic's second 4-1 loss to Sparta Prague in three weeks. Forty-eight hours later, they were out of one cup competition. Three months further on, and it's beginning to look like Celtic might finish the season trophyless.

"You can't dwell on the past. You can analyse it at the end of the season or over the piece. We are just concentrating on the present and getting a groove on”

Mentioned in the pre-match press conference before the 1-0 loss at Ross County, to another set-piece goal. How many goals have Celtic lost from set-pieces this season?

“This is where I’m confused. Because all clubs in Scotland have been travelling up and down the country in two buses. With these guidelines now that we are having to adhere to it means that only three players can travel on a 52-seater bus"

In response to the criticism levelled at the club for heading to Dubai, Lennon launched into an impassioned defence of the trip and his players, with reference to Covid-19 protocols. Mentioning planes, buses, and dressing rooms a frazzled Lennon expressed his irritation at the Scottish Government's take on "close contacts”.

“There’s no evidence to suggest that I can’t [lead Celtic to a tenth title in a row]”

Lennon said this just days after Celtic scrambled a 2-2 draw at Hibs. They had already drawn with Kilmarnock and Aberdeen; lost to Rangers; thrown away a two-goal lead against Lille; lost 4-1 to Sparta Prague, and been knocked out of the Champions League by Ferencvaros. Rangers, meanwhile, had dropped just four points in the league and were impressing in Europe. Results and form obviously got worse but even the most ardent of Celtic cheerleaders would have been struggling to fully support Lennon's claims.


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