Celtic manager Neil Lennon says his players have raised no complaints over Scotland’s training schedule in the wake of his Rangers counterpart Steven Gerrard blaming it for an injury to Ryan Jack.
Lennon expressed some sympathy for Gerrard’s insistence that no player should be asked to complete a double session just 48 hours after playing a full 90 minutes, the basis for his grievance over the knee problem which forced Jack to withdraw from the Scotland squad.
But Celtic trio Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie and James Forrest – who also played in the Old Firm match at Ibrox on 1 September – emerged unscathed from training alongside Jack with Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad two days later.
“Our boys came back fine,” said Lennon. “They went from a big high with us at Ibrox and then straight away they met with the Scotland squad on the Sunday evening.
“So at times they don’t get enough downtime to digest it all, freshen up and go again. But there were no complaints from our boys in terms of the training times or the intensity of the training.
“I wouldn’t have liked to have done that as a player, put it that way. A double session two days later? No. But, again, you don’t know the intensity of what was put out there. My physio (Tim Williamson) is also the Scotland physio, so I’d like to think he would have a steer on it.
“If it was 11k, that is a lot. I have certain sympathy there. I don’t know how much my players ran, I’ll have to ask them. It’s unfortunate in that aspect, I suppose. But Steve Clarke has a job to do as well and only has the players for a short time.”
Lennon, meanwhile, believes the Scottish FA are still paying the price for what he insists was the wrong decision to sack Gordon Strachan as manager two years ago. Scotland’s defeats against Russia and Belgium over the past week left them second bottom of their Euro 2020 qualifying group.
“I have to question the decision-making (of the SFA),” said Lennon. “I thought Gordon had a good thing going with Scotland. Okay, they didn’t qualify for a tournament but they were unbeaten in their last six qualifiers under him and came close to the play-offs.
“They were minutes away from beating England. You could see progression and players playing well for Scotland.
“There was a structure and platform there but with a change of manager, then another, it’s like a restart again. With some players getting disenfranchised with it, Steve Clarke has to pick up the baton and go again.”