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Sunday 20 April 2014

Incensed Lennon hits back at Hoops detractors

COMMON bonds with Neil Lennon afforded no protection for two Scottish football personalities who fell foul of the Celtic manager when he looked ahead to this evening's visit of Kilmarnock.

Murdo MacLeod – who, like Lennon, was formerly a combative Hoops midfielder – and Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels, a fellow Northern Irishman, both wandered into Lennon's sights when they made comments about the performance of the Parkhead side.

It was Celtic's surprise defeat by St Mirren in the semi-finals of the League Cup that prompted MacLeod to make the remarks in a Scottish tabloid and, although Lennon did not name the pundit directly, there was no mistaking who the manager meant when he said: "Supporters can have their say, but I am not overly enamoured with columnists and their "yada yada yada" – having a go at the team.

"They seem to come out of their shell when we to lose a game, with the usual sycophantic lines like 'we feel sorry for the fans who have spent their hard-earned cash, blah blah blah'. They don't really care about the fans who have spent their hard-earned cash at all.

"I am not going to name names. His opening line was 'to lose one treble is careless, to lose two is whatever'. It was as if winning a treble is as easy as shelling peas.

"I am not happy with it. He is trying to drive a wedge between players and fans with that comment about the hard-earned cash," he added.

Shiels, meanwhile, got both barrels for suggesting that Celtic had "massively underachieved" and "threw away" two cups, while claiming Kilmarnock were the only rightful candidate for team of 2012.

"You can look at it in many ways but I think we have been brilliant. I think we probably overachieved in 2012, for the budget we were working with, the environment that we are playing in, the pressure the players are under week-in, week-out, the analysis that goes with it and the naivety and youth we have."

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