Saturday 24 June 2017

Lennon lays it on line for struggling Celtic

Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Neil Lennon held a one-sided meeting with his players in a bid to kickstart their season following their remarkable SPL match at Kilmarnock last Saturday.

Lennon's Bhoys were losing 3-0 at the interval and needed a dramatic second-half turnaround to salvage a draw which left them 10 points behind leaders Rangers and three adrift of second-placed Motherwell.

Lennon later admitted he had concerns about his position as he walked up the tunnel at the break and, despite the second-half fightback, he had his players in the next morning for a meeting.

And ahead of tonight's Europa League clash with Rennes in France, the former Northern Ireland international hinted that the dialogue had been one-way.

"I'm not sure the players were in the position to get things off their chest," he replied, when asked if the meeting had allowed both sides to lay bare their grievances.

"We just analysed the game, the good and the bad, and there were a lot of positives to come out of it.

"I am very proud of the players for the way they fought back. They showed great character, so I want them to build on that for the upcoming games."

Celtic, bottom of the pool on goal difference with one point from two games, have triumphed only once away from home in Europe in their last 31 attempts and have won only four of their last 12 games.

"We have to defend better than we did last Saturday," acknowledged Lennon. "Rennes are an excellent side, with some very exciting players going forward. But we have exciting players ourselves and we feel we can cause them plenty of problems."

Lennon is without injured trio Georgios Samaras, Kris Commons and Gary Hooper, while defender Badr El-Kaddouri is cup-tied.

Irish Independent

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