Celtic set to fire Neil Lennon – reports

Defeat to Ross County on Sunday put the former Hoops captain under increased pressure.

By Press Association Published: 24 February 2021 - 12.57am

Celtic are set to announce the departure of manager Neil Lennon, according to reports.

Lennon’s position was under review and a second defeat of the season by Ross County on Sunday put the former Hoops captain further under pressure.

The 1-0 loss in Dingwall left Celtic 18 points adrift of Rangers with eight games remaining and heightened the prospect of the Ibrox side clinching the Scottish Premiership title at Parkhead on March 21.

Some of Lennon’s closest former Celtic team-mates had argued in recent weeks that it was time for him to depart and reports claim his exit will be announced imminently.

One of those former colleagues, Chris Sutton, wrote on Twitter: “Neil Lennon had to go. I know this season has been a disaster but i hope after the anger settles down about this season that people respect that Neil has been a great servant to Celtic both as a player and manager.”

Lennon has presided over a campaign which promised so much as Celtic chased a record 10th consecutive title, but which veered from bad to worse after Celtic suffered a home defeat by Ferencvaros in the Champions League qualifiers.

A bottom-placed finish in the Europa League group stages followed and Celtic’s title defence never recovered from a home defeat by Rangers after a series of Covid-19 blows during the October international break.

Lennon survived a run of two wins in 12 matches, including a Betfred Cup defeat by County, and some angry protests from fans.

The Celtic board twice gave him their public backing but promised a review in the new year, before a run of six wins including a shoot-out triumph against Hearts in last season’s delayed Scottish Cup final.

The new year brought with it another defeat by Rangers and a training camp in Dubai which backfired spectacularly when 14 players and the manager himself ended up in self-isolation.

Lennon again stayed in position after a run of one win in six matches, during which it was announced that chief executive Peter Lawwell would be replaced by the Scottish Rugby Union’s Dominic McKay in the summer.

It was revealed that the review of Lennon’s position remained ongoing during a five-match winning run, which came to an end with a 1-0 defeat in the Highlands on Sunday.

That defeat looks to have spelled the end of Lennon’s second spell in charge of Celtic, in which he clinched the first five trophies on offer but fell well short of a 10th consecutive title that Hoops fans had set their sights on during his first reign.

Assistant manager John Kennedy is expected to take caretaker charge.

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