It’s simply not good enough. We cannot keep citing excuses either.
Neil Lennon has a severe problem with his squad and nobody appears to be able to put a finger on what it is. The autopsy may have started while ago, but whatever the cause of death in Celtic’s fortunes, Neil Lennon is under severe pressure and almost out of time.
The 1-4 slump at home to Sparta Prague was humiliating. Not because the visitors weren’t a good side, but because they were a better side who were short of first team personnel and without a month’s worth of competitive games.
We’ve cited missing personnel ourselves, but we’re almost back to full strength now and have been playing regular football save two postponements. Our problem seems to be motivation, organisation and team work.
Last week I thought we’d turned a corner after a convincing 2-0 win over Aberdeen at Hampden. In fact every game since the derby defeat appeared to be a marginal improvement, but now we are almost rock bottom.
I honestly felt that Sparta Prague were a team we could have beaten. I don’t know if we underestimated them, but they looked hungry and effective to our disjointed and sloppy selves.
Even though we started out at a high tempo, we were toothless in the final third again. Eventually that allowed Prague to get in to the game and their optimism grew and grew.
They had umpteen chances to put us to the sword long before they finally did. Our defence is an unfunny joke and Sparta showed it up for what it is.
Shane Duffy was recruited on loan because he was seen as the perfect fit for Lennon’s defensive plan. I’m not sure what that plan is, but Duffy is the laughing stock of Celtic’s woes.
He isn’t the only player letting the side down though. There have been others and perhaps the biggest one of all has been our star striker Odsonne Edouard.
Covid-19 aside, he has failed to shine this season. He looks disinterested and lacking the presence we’ve seen in previous seasons.
I’ve seen more from an unfit Albian Ajeti and Leigh Griffiths. Even Patryk Klimala has played with more passion.
Eddy’s poor performances have many convinced that he wants to leave. Speculation around his future has always been rife so that’s nothing new.
I’m now beginning to wonder whether the club have asked him to stay one more year to get 10IAR and has backfired. That may also be the case for other players in the squad too such as Olivier Ntcham.
Have we shot ourselves in the foot by trying to keep the squad together when they don’t really want to be here? I always felt that the only thing that could stop us from winning 10IAR was ourselves and on this season’s evidence that is exactly what is happening.
Of course, this is a team game but we have been confined to decent individual performances mostly. What we are sorely lacking is consistency and a togetherness.
In the post match interview, Lennon threw his players under the bus whilst accepting minimal responsibility. He also mentioned changing the culture, but I’m not even sure what that means.
We’ve seen little bits of character in certain games. What I’m seeing more and more of though are heads going down.
Neil has brought in a handful of players this season to add to the squad he largely retained. And so far it just hasn’t come together for him.
After the Champions League, Lennon lambasted those who were uncommitted to the club. He also said he would take action because it was bugging him, but since that nothing has really changed.
Who those players are I can only speculate. So far we’ve read about the rumours that Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie were amongst our French contingent of Edouard and Ntcham that were supposedly looking to get out.
The irony there is that Christie and Ajer have actually been good this season whilst the other two haven’t. If we do have players not dedicated to the cause then you just have to get rid of them and play guys that do, end of.
I mean David Turnbull arrived some 12 months after we first tried to get him and he’s barely had a sniff. Tom Rogic has returned to first team action and doing the business after almost leaving in the summer.
I guess the bottom line is how much of Celtic’s issues come down to Neil Lennon and his coaching staff and how much is down the players. If Neil can’t motivate and organise this team then he is the one who will be out of a job, not the players.
The game on Sunday against Motherwell will be the last Premiership match before the international break. If we don’t win that one then I sense a decision could be made on Neil’s future if it hasn’t been looked at already.
If he survives the international break his future could be on a game-by-game basis. I’m saddened to say that, but that is where we are at right now.
I never thought going into this season that we would be looking at disaster recovery. Unless we bounce back on Sunday that is exactly where we are.