Celtic’s thumping of rivals Rangers made for “uncomfortable” viewing, according to Hibernian manager Neil Lennon, who described the one-sided contest as a “freak show”.
The former Celtic captain and manager, who also expressed sympathy for sacked Ibrox boss Graeme Murty, watched with interest as his former side wrapped up a seventh successive title, but he insisted it was not as enjoyable for him as many would expect.
“It got really uncomfortable, believe it or not. When the fifth goal went in after 50-odd minutes, I was thinking: ‘This just doesn’t look right’. It was a total mismatch. I hadn’t seen anything like that before, in this fixture.
“Celtic are a fantastic team. But they’re beatable. Yet they absolutely wiped the floor with Rangers. It was a freak show. It is great for Celtic, their players and supporters but the balance is way off kilter from what we’re used to and the enjoyment went after the fifth goal. It just didn’t sit well, didn’t look right.”
After weeks of speculation, the capitulation, just a couple of weeks after the Govan men came undone in the Scottish Cup, cost Murty his job, with Steven Gerrard being courted as his replacement. While that appointment seems imminent, Lennon believes it is a risky move.
“They tried a guy from outside Scottish football in Pedro Caixinha, then they tried a guy with no managerial experience – and now they’re looking to do that again,” said the man who is still hoping to finish above the Ibrox club. “All right, he’s a big name – and he may come in and do very, very well. But Steve will have to consider what the outcome is for him.
“Any manager with decent experience could turn it around very, very quickly. But it’s fraught with a lot of risks, not just in the game but outside the game as well. I don’t think it will take a lot to turn it around because it can’t get any worse. So, if the remit is to finish second next season, with the budget and the support that they’ve had this season, that’s fair. They should have been out of sight in second this season, with the money they’ve been able to spend in comparison to ourselves and Aberdeen. So I don’t think it’s that insurmountable in that aspect. But there is a lot of work to be done. Not just on the football side.”
It is that off-the-field tumult that led to Lennon calling Murty, pictured, to express his sympathies and offer some words of encouragement.
“He’s been hung out. I’ve been in that sort of position myself at Bolton when there is no leadership or structure. There is a structure at Rangers but there seems to be a lack of real support. When it really got tough a lot of people turned their back on him, which I found unpalatable.
“It was a very difficult position he was put in and even an experienced guy would find that situation very difficult.”