The point of the above pre-amble is that I have always waited to see what it’s store. I don’t like making rash judgements and I like informed decisions. I’ve waited to see if managers can keep up good form or transform bad fortunes before decided whether or not they are the best person for the job. This amount of time can vary – it took me 6 months (and one almighty dysfunctional performance against Kilmarnock) to decide that Tony Mowbray shouldn’t be in charge for example.
This is where we move onto Lenny. I firmly believe that he was a cheap option utilised by a board that had a mediocre and cheap shortlist. I believe that, while Lenny tries to give off an ‘Im my own man’ persona, he is beholden to the board and Lawell in particular for getting the opportunity to become manager. Despite this unfortunate baggage coming into the job however, I have waited to watch performances on the pitch before coming to a judgement on his ability.
As of now, I believe Lenny should be replaced. Celtic’s form has went from bad to worse under his control. Players he has signed have shown themselves to be nothing more than reasonable cheap options that are devoid of leadership, composure and even at times ability.
Daryl Murphy? A poor mans Chris Killen.
Joe Ledley? A hider and coward.
Anthony Stokes? Greedy, selfish and flashy.
Daniel Masjtarovic? Ponderous and immobile (and old).
Cha du ri? No game intelligence, and a liability.
Lennon’s tactics are naive and inflexible. The opposition are consistently coming into the games aware of this fact and adjusting their game plan accordingly. We have drawn our last three games at home (and lost our last away game at Hearts) because of this ridiculously flawed approach. We have not reached this point by accident or fluke either. Early season ‘form’ (and I use that term loosely considering our atrocious European performances – the sort of performances we mock other SPL teams for incidentally) has petered out drastically in the last two months. The last Glasgow derby also raised doubts regarding our managers’ ability considering how out-fought and out-thought we were in this game, especially the second half.
When Rangers were starting to flounder under Le Guen, they bit the bullet. They replaced a man that they had made such a song and dance about getting in the first place and decided that what was needed was a unifying solution with pragmatic aims and objectives. Walter Smith fitted this bill nicely and, as times have proved, Smith has reinvigorated Rangers (although we can debate the caveats and conditions this has taken place under another time). My main point is this: Smith was someone they respected, they believed in, could rally around and accept. Indeed, such was his impact that Gordon Strachan didn’t win against Smith’s Rangers for nearly a year and a half. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of Smith’s personality and managerial deficiencies as much as the next Celtic fan. It is the action of appointing Smith – at a time when the House of Orange was divided and in disarray – that allowed Rangers to galvanise itself, on and off the pitch.
Celtic are floundering right now under an inexperienced, novice coach who should have been let nowhere near the top job. My sentiment for Lenny as a player is slowly being extinguished by his lack of ability and perspective as a manager. The longer we tolerate this situation, the worse things will become. Lennon has not won one single crunch game in his time at Celtic – indeed he has bombed. Mowbray (and dare I say it Strachan) would have been strung up for less. Contrary to popular belief, he has also had money to spend and has spent it crazily. The four impostors I have already named should be nowhere near the jersey for a start. However, Lennon’s refusal to actually strengthen areas of immediate replenishment i.e. Centre back, holding/defensive midfielder, Goalkeeper, has made me question his recruitment policy and selection methods.
Lennon needs to be removed from his position. In order to galvanise us and unify us, we need the appointment of a man who restored us to the top table of, not just Scottish but, European football. We need the appointment of a man who led us to back to back championships for the first time in decades. We need the appointment of a man who led us to our first European final in over 30 years. We need the appointment of a man who, in his first season, won the championship BEFORE split. We also need the appointment of a man who spoke out against attempts to blacken us, demean us and intimidate us. We need a man who, in the face of unspeakable sectarian and racist abuse of players, stood up and supported our men and spoke out in no certain terms about the perpetrators. We need a man who the support identifies with and still revere for his past achievements.
It is time for Martin O’Neill to return to Parkhead. It is now that serious.