Stiliyan Petrov: Managing Celtic does not necessarily suit Neil Lennon

The verdict seemed loud and clear on Sunday as supporters sang: “There’s only one Neil Lennon”. But Stiliyan Petrov believes the interim Celtic manager, who could be 90 minutes away from leaving the club, deserves more credit?for what he has done since replacing Brendan Rodgers.

Stiliyan Petrov believes Neil Lennon deserves more credit. Picture: SNS.
Stiliyan Petrov believes Neil Lennon deserves more credit. Picture: SNS.

Whether the fans’ tribute should be interpreted as a ringing endorsement of his credentials to be appointed on a permanent basis or as a fond farewell is a moot point. It remains to be seen how the Celtic board choose to deal with the situation of a caretaker doing everything asked of him.

If Celtic win against Hearts on Saturday, Lennon will have helped the club over the treble treble finishing line. It is a persuasive argument for him getting the job on a full-time basis but even then it is clear some Celtic fans would require more convincing.

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In any case, Petrov believes Lennon himself should ask some questions. Will he be allowed to be successful and is returning to the suffocating atmosphere of Old Firm rivalry what he needs right now? Petrov believes his former Parkhead team-mate would have little problem getting another high-profile post 
elsewhere.

Whatever happens, Petrov hopes a decision on Lennon’s future is reached sooner rather than later. “I think they have to make a quick decision,” he said. “That will show they have a clear plan and that they know what they are going to do. Because if you look at it Lenny will be losing a few important players from the team.

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“He will need to rebuild and move the club forward and there’s not a lot of time to prepare ahead of Europe. A quick and clear decision would give reassurance to the fans and to whoever gets the job that they will get the support and time to rebuild.”

“He deserves more credit but sometimes as a manager you don’t get the things you deserve,” he added. “Everyone is talking about whether Lenny will get the job but he has to analyse it and see if it’s a good job for him.

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“It’s not just from the club’s side but for Lenny as well. Managers have different ways of working. Lenny is completely different from Brendan Rodgers and he’s inherited a squad built by Brendan 
Rodgers.

“Brendan built it very well and got in his own players who could fit his style. Neil Lennon is completely different and if he is to continue then they have to sit and analyse where the club is going.

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“What do they do about Rangers closing the gap? What do they have to do to make an impact in European football again? What do they have to add to the squad?

“There’s a lot of conversations needed to make sure they push the club in the right direction. Celtic are going in a good direction but need to make sure they’re back in [group stage of] Europe and going for ten in a row.

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“Neil Lennon also has a lot of questions to ask. Some fans are split but Lenny also has to see if it suits him and the way he works.”