Neil Lennon has launched a staunch defence of the Scottish game in the face of criticism from talkSPORT pundit and former Celtic striker Tony Cascarino, pictured.
Cascarino, who struggled during his spell at Parkhead, played down Brendan Rodgers’ side’s record 63-match domestic unbeaten run. The former Republic of Ireland international said: “To justify this great run they’ve been on – well, who have they actually beaten? Beating Ross County and St Johnstone when the team’s miles ahead, it means nothing”.
Lennon acknowledges the financial gulf but believes the quality, drama and atmosphere of the game in Scotland is something of which to be proud.
“It is disrespectful. How much Scottish football does Tony watch?” said Lennon. “To go 63 games at any level is remarkable. Celtic are an excellent side and they proved that with a few games in the Champions League.
“We’re not getting the money the English clubs can get but the Scottish game is improving. It’s getting healthier. You only have to look at the calibre of manager working up here.
“I find the competition and the quality of the games really refreshing. We don’t need people from down south lecturing us on how the game is up here.
“There is still that rawness here. There is still that passion. It’s still a working-class sport up here. You don’t have too many prawn sandwich brigades, who kill the soul of the game. I’ve been to a lot of grounds in England where the atmosphere is awful.”
Lennon added: “I’ve seen some absolute rubbish in England. Rubbish.
“Over the weekend, there were three or four 1-0s. I watch some games in the Championship and the football is eye-bleeding, whereas I have seen some really good games up here.”