Yesterday was Neil Lennon’s last chance to turn this season around. Even though it is still mathematically possible to win the league, there is no evidence at Celtic Park or Ibrox that this season is going to deviate from its present course.
The apathy engulfing Celtic Football Club right now is suffocating. For a club to have dominated for so long it is a tragic way for it to end.
All good things must come to an end, they say. Well this 10IAR ship would appear to have sailed.
There’s no spark. No verve.
Sunday was another demonstration of negative body language and a defeated mentality on the park and in the dugout. What surprises me is that when Neil Lennon needs to inject some spirit into the the side, he sticks with the same formula.
Whatever is affecting the players, seems to be affecting him too. There’s no guarantee that the answer to our problems is within our ranks, but when all else fails, fresh ideas.
David Turnbull came off the bench and played with the kind of spirit we’ve been missing all season. What I can’t understand is why we haven’t we seen more of guys like him and Hazard, Klimala, Soro, Welsh, Dembele, Connell, Ralston and Henderson.
Whilst they may not be the long term solution, they have something to prove and could well have broken this chain of inadequacy by signalling to the regulars that they aren’t’ cutting it. Week after week we’ve seen the same failures over and over, so what is there to lose by trying out fringe players when results aren’t going for you anyway?
In all honesty though it looks too late. Lennon and his backroom staff haven’t demonstrated any kind of out of the box thinking and Lennon and Kennedy looked lost in the dugout.
If the loss of fans and atmosphere is a key part to player motivation then the club has failed to deal with what the rest of Scottish football has. Should this be the case then this management team can do no more.
Unfortunately, Neil Lennon doesn’t believe his time is up. The club are sticking by him, but for how much longer is anyone’s guess.
I don’t believe they have a replacement ready to go. They aren’t that proactive or savvy and after all, Lennon was their choice as caretaker and permanent replacement for a second time.
If Lennon stays, the club will continue to lose the fans if they haven’t already. You can’t argue with protesters forever.
At some point you have to admit defeat and draw up a plan to move forward. Should Lennon be shown the door, and that seems to be the only way he’ll exit, then it has to be a fresh start.
Handing the reigns to John Kennedy would not change anything. He’s been in the backroom staff since 2010 and a first team coach since 2014.
His influence on first team matters has grown to the point that even under Neil Lennon, he’s been entrusted to carry on the routines that predate Lennon’s second term. So if Kennedy has something in his locker, I would imagine we’ve already seen it.
Gavin Strachan has only been at the club since June and I don’t know what sort of influence he’s had since his arrival. All I can say is that in that time frame I can’t think of anything significant that’s occurred at the club.
There’s no quick fix here. The club cannot move forward until they know what the problem is and exorcise it.
I feel for Neil Lennon, I really do, but we cannot continue in this vein. The big question is can anyone come in at this stage and turn things around?
Probably not and for that reason, I think the club will not force any changes now. Especially with a Scottish Cup Final only two weeks away.