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Lennon slams side as Hearts down Celts

Neil Lennon will spend the international break trying to salvage Celtic's Scottish Premier League title hopes.

Yesterday's 2-0 defeat at Hearts was Celtic's third loss of the campaign and raised as many questions about the manager as it did about his under-performing squad.

A red card for the returning Kris Commons in between goals from Rudi Skacel and Ryan Stevenson completed Celtic's afternoon of misery.

Joe Ledley and Biram Kayal were added to the absent list of Scott Brown, Emilio Izaguirre and Kelvin Wilson, but the depth of the Celtic squad was cruelly exposed by a Hearts side that had lost to Ayr United and St Johnstone in their previous outings.

Ki Sung-Yeung was the only player from the starting line up that Lennon hadn't signed but that didn't spare the players from the wrath of their manager, with even the substitutes -- including Anthony Stokes -- a target for the manager's anger.

Looking noticeably flat after the defeat, the Celtic boss warned: "With the players, it's got to come from within. A few heads dropped after the sending off and that was disappointing.

"The subs didn't make the impact we hoped for either. A few players have to look at themselves and ask if they're doing enough. For me, they're not. There was a lack of belief that we could get back into the game.


"We have to find more consistency in our performances and quickly, there are two or three off form.

"They're going to have to turn this around and I'm going to have to as well, but there's a lot of football to be played."

Lennon's own performance is under greater scrutiny than ever from the fans who have backed him to the hilt against a campaign of hate since he stepped up to replace Tony Mowbray.

That support and sympathy is beginning to wear thin as Celtic trail Rangers by 10 points and sit in third place, a point behind Motherwell.

Celtic's game in hand against Dunfermline should see the gap with Rangers trimmed back but Lennon knows the consequences of losing further ground to Ally McCoist's side.

"It's redeemable but I'm not going to pull the wool over anyone's eyes -- we can't afford to lose games," he said.

"We lost four in the whole of last season and we've lost three already -- I know that it's not good enough."