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Lennon: Celtic slump is more stressful than hate campaign

NEIL LENNON has revealed that Celtic's form slump is more worrying than the bombs and bullets he dealt with during last season's campaign of hate.

Despite the off-field attacks waged against the Celtic boss, Lennon and his players responded on the park with some sparkling football and came within a point of winning the title.

"This is the beginning, not the end," Lennon told the Celtic support on the final day of last season, but there are few signs of a league challenge coming from Parkhead this term.

Rumours of bust-ups and rows between management and players are 10-a-penny, with Kris Commons turning up for training in a neck brace and plaster yesterday, in response to a frenzy about a bust-up at training.

Failure to take full points from trips to Motherwell and Inverness could see Lennon dismissed, with the Hoops boss well aware of what is at stake.

"My whole responsibility is with the team, it's not my own problems off the field," he said.

"I'm just looking for a reaction from them and I know I'll get it.

"The thing is not to panic. I know their personalities and they aren't the sorts to look around."

After being dropped in at the deep end as caretaker manager, Lennon steered Celtic to eight wins out of nine towards the end of the 2009/10 season.

His only defeat came against Ross County in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden, and the Armagh man is looking to draw on that experience to turn this season around.

Lennon added: "A win against Rennes (in the Europa League) would act as a huge fillip.

"What we have to be wary of is that they are a very good counter-attacking side.

"We feel, though, that with us being the home team, we should try and take the game to them if we can."