Lennon says match criticism should be sent his way

Neil Lennon said some fringe players needed game time yesterday. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Neil Lennon said some fringe players needed game time yesterday. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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NOT for the first time, Neil Lennon bemoaned the wastefulness of his team but said that any blame going about in the aftermath of this flat performance and rather fortunate point should be levelled at him and not the players.

Lennon made many changes to his side and they put in a “pedestrian” performance.

“I’m very happy that we got something but I should take the criticism if there’s any coming our way because I picked the team,” said the Celtic manager. “I wanted to use the squad for this one with a huge game on Wednesday, so I’ll take a point. It preserves the unbeaten record which, obviously, we’re very proud of but we were a bit flat and certainly, in the final third, we need to do better. We had umpteen chances, three off the line in the first half and so much dominance in the second half. We were sloppy.”

Lennon said some fringe players needed game time yesterday while confirming that Georgios Samaras and Kris Commons would recover from injury in time for the Ajax game on Wednesday. “It was tough because of our sloppiness,” said Lennon. “We looked pedestrian at times. I don’t know if there’s a tiredness creeping in, but they looked a bit flat-footed at the back. But the only excuse or criticism is my team selection. Don’t blame the players. We had 20 attempts at goal, ten corners – we’ve got to do better. We keep flashing balls in the box and I always see an opposition defender getting there first, that’s something we need to do better. We need to be braver in the final third. It’s a concern. You keep giving encouragement [to other teams]. The amount of chances going begging was frustrating.”

Jackie McNamara said the draw felt like a defeat given how late in the day Celtic scored. “We’ve got to learn how to see it through. The lads are gutted. It just shows how far they’ve come when they’re 
disappointed to be leaving here with a point.”