Celtic team don’t get credit they deserve says Neil Lennon

Callum McGregor, celebrating his goal against St Mirren on Boxing Day, has become a great leader says Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Picture: SNS.
Callum McGregor, celebrating his goal against St Mirren on Boxing Day, has become a great leader says Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Picture: SNS.
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Celtic have won three consecutive trebles and their Betfred Cup final victory over Rangers three weeks ago gave them an unprecedented tenth consecutive domestic trophy.

They also topped their Europa League group – another first for the club – and a third successive victory over Rangers when they meet at Parkhead tomorrow would provide the champions with an eight-point lead over their closest rivals at the top of the Premiership table.

Yet, in spite of their relentless success, manager Neil Lennon feels that the achievements of himself and his players have gone unlauded and unrecognised by a public (and media) which has become so accustomed to their accumulation of silverware that it barely notices when the next piece arrives in their boardroom.

Lennon believes that does his squad a disservice, arguing that their consistency is remarkable; if they prevail in tomorrow’s derby they will have ended 2019 by winning their last 12 top-tier fixtures.

“They’re not getting the credit they deserve and I don’t know why,” he said. “This group has improved, there’s no question of that, whether it’s their performances, their maturity, their dominance. It’s not an easy thing to do but they keep going and going.

“In the end, people switch off to that because they just take it for granted but I can’t and don’t think that way.

“Maybe it’s because I’m the manager, I don’t know. If someone else was in charge they might get all the glitz and glamour that goes with it but I think what they’ve done in the first half of the season is being underplayed. Not by me, though; I’m absolutely thrilled and really proud of them. I’d like them to finish off what has been a great year for me personally and end it with the club on a high.”

Lennon’s team have amassed ten points more than the more celebrated Brendan Rodgers team had managed after the same number of games in the two previous seasons, while also harvesting 99 goals from all competitions.

“I was told that the other day and it didn’t surprise me,” he said. “We’ve been so consistent since losing to Livingston – it’s been a spectacular reaction. No matter who we’ve played or what changes we’ve made, the squad has been absolutely superb.

“They find that little bit extra at times and they have great leaders in Scott Brown and Callum McGregor. Fraser Forster and Christopher Jullien have added something and Kristoffer Ajer is a good type.

“There’s a good core and they have that winning mentality. Sometimes you leave them to manage the dressing room and you need your architects in there but we do give them a prod at times just to steer them in the right direction when needed.

“To score 99 goals by this stage is pretty impressive; I can’t ask any more than what I’m getting from them at the moment.

“People still want to try to pick holes in that and I get it, but you’re never going to have the perfect team and, if you did, you would get bored as you’d be winning 5-0 every week.

“However, the consistency, the style of our football and fitness levels – all under intense scrutiny – makes 
me delighted.”