Celtic: Neil Lennon recalls Ross County rant as he looks back on 10 years since first appointment

Manager reflects on decade since first appointment as interim boss

Neil Lennon drops to his knees as he looks on during the semi-final loss
Neil Lennon drops to his knees as he looks on during the semi-final loss

Neil Lennon has recalled his infamous post-match rant after Celtic were knocked out of the Scottish Cup at the semi-final stage by Ross County in his first stint at the helm.

The former Northern Ireland international was appointed caretaker manager of the Parkhead side for the first time on March 25 2010 and although he won his first two games in charge – a 3-1 win over Kilmarnock and a 1-0 victory away to Hibs – the Hoops were stunned at Hampden by the Staggies in the last four of the tournament in his third match leading the club.

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Goals from Steven Craig and Martin Scott handed the First Division side a fine win and their first appearance in a major final, while Celtic went on to win their remaining league matches.

Reflecting on ten years since he first took the reins as Celtic boss, Lennon told the club’s website: “It was off the back of Tony [Mowbray] leaving, and I had to very quickly assemble a team together as well.

“We just had to get an improvement in the team, get some wins and boost the morale of the players and the supporters as well.

“It was so different from the second time taking over last year, where everything was so successful. It was the polar opposite, where we were struggling, we were inconsistent and the league had already, more or less, gone.”

The former Hibs head coach is well known for his passion for winning, and his reaction to the ignominious defeat was unsurprising.

“I was just very angry with the players,” he said. “They didn’t show the right attitude on the day and it was only my third game in charge.

“We’d beaten Kilmarnock and then Hibs, and then it was the semi-final at Hampden against Ross County.

“There was a lack of application and attitude on the day, and I came out and said some really strong words, but I meant it, and it seemed to have the desired effect for the rest of the season.”

Despite the defeat, Lennon was appointed permanent manager in the summer and has led the Celts to eight trophies in total so far.

He added: “I’ve been lucky enough to work at a club like this where, although you’re not guaranteed success, there’s a good chance of success.

“You’re working with great coaches and players every day, and to get the job for a second period was amazing as well. So I’m just absolutely thrilled with the way things have gone.”

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