Lennon laughs off rumours of Commons bust-up
Published 03/11/2011 | 05:00
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has dismissed rumours of a bust-up with Kris Commons and insists there is no problem between the pair.
Lennon was responding to speculation circulating online this week that the two had clashed -- prompting Commons to play a prank on photographers by turning up for training yesterday wearing a neck-brace, a head bandage and a large plaster across his nose.
The manager is well aware that his side's recent form is no laughing matter -- Celtic have only won six of their last 16 games in all competitions -- but is adamant there is no rift with Commons or any of his other players.
He said: "When things start to go wrong, people will start rumours and look for things that aren't there. There never has been a problem between myself and Kris. I think he's a wonderful player, I get on very well with him and I've known him for a long time.
"I know he's going to have a big impact, when he's fit, on the rest of our season. As regards to rumours, if people want to believe them, that's their problem."
After Saturday's goalless draw against Hibernian at Parkhead, Lennon described some of his players as passengers and threatened to "out" those he believed were lacking effort.
Speaking yesterday, he said: "I'm not going to go over the top on the players. They have been brilliant since I took over.
"It's a short-term problem but I need to rectify it very, very quickly and just get them playing to their potential on a more consistent basis. There is no dressing-room unrest.
"I know we are capable of turning it around very quickly. I know we can win games on a consistent basis because we have done it before."
Celtic host Rennes tonight in the Europa League, before facing second-placed Motherwell on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Lennon stressed his desire to retain the services of James Forrest after Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp confirmed he is monitoring the progress of the 20-year-old winger.
"We think James is a great talent and we want him to progress here," said Lennon. "He is an important player for us and he's only going to get better. It doesn't surprise me that other clubs are watching him because he has been playing so consistently as well."
Celtic v Rennes, Live, Setanta Ireland, 8.05