The Hoops’ Highland horror show leaves them 18 points behind Rangers at the Scottish Premiership summit and hands the Ibrox side the opportunity to wrap up the league title at the home of their nearest rivals before the end of season split.
Jordan White’s second half header ensured The Staggies’ humiliated Celtic for a second time this season after condemning Lennon’s men to a Betfred Cup exit before the end of last year.
That prompted angry scenes outside Celtic Park, with fans storming the gates to demand the removal of the man in the dugout and chief executive Peter Lawwell from the boardroom.
They got part of their wish when Lawwell agreed to step aside in favour of Scottish Rugby chief Dominic McKay, seemingly signalling the start of the club hitting the reset button in the close season with their ten in a row dreams a fast-fading hope.
However, that vocal section of the Hoops’ faithful may have to wait slightly longer for Lennon to follow the outgoing supremo if his post-match radio debrief is to be believed.
For the second time since the turn of the year, Lennon was infuriated by the line of questioning put to him over his future at the club after a disappointing result.
The Celtic boss had already taken aim at reporter Kenny Macintyre following the draw at Livingston in January, but this time it was Rob MacLean in the firing line.
Lennon stood by his assertion that he was the right man to overhaul the club, and when probed on his future for the second time, called a halt to the interview.
Here is the transcript in full.
Rob MacLean (RM) : “Neil, your reaction to that result?”
Neil Lennon (NL) : “Strange one. It maybe encapsulates our season. It’s a real poor goal to concede. It’s another set play and I’m bitterly disappointed with that. I think we played well tonight, I think we should have won the game comfortably tonight. We had enough real good quality chances to put the game to bed even before half-time.”
RM : “Yes, you could have been three up.
NL : “Comfortably, Rob, yes, comfortably. And that’s the frustration. We said look you are playing well, keep it going, and to be fair we created some good chances second half. The goal is inexcusable. We talk ad nauseam about defending set plays and they don’t seem to want to do it this season.
RM : “It’s been a recurring theme, hasn’t it?
NL : “Yes, you can do all the work on the training ground but the players have got to want to go and head the ball. The biggest guy in their team gets a free header from four, five yards out when we’ve got plenty of players mourned him to deal with it. That’s unacceptable from our point of view.
RM : “Is that a lack of bravery?
NL : “Em. Possibly. I just think it’s been a running theme for us this season for whatever reason. Mindset. It wasn’t there last year but it certainly is this year.
RM : “How damaging is that result?
NL : “It’s hugely damaging. It’s the end of a run, we’re 18 points behind, there’s not many games left but we pick ourselves up, it’s going to be difficult but we have to do it somehow. You don’t see the result coming, because we’re on a run, we’re in good form, and like I say the quality of chances we created through good play, it’s inexcusable to miss them.
RM: “ The Celtic fans are obviously in uproar about that result tonight, what do you say to them?
NL : “I apologise. You know, it wasn’t for the want of trying and the attitude of the players was good but we’ve let them down tonight, there is no question about that.
RM :” There’s not much you can do I suppose about players missing guilt-edge chances…
NL : “No, that’s the unpredictability at times of being a manager. You know, I thought we worked the ball well and created good chances and when you’re doing that you’re thinking one is going to come. Ross Laidlaw made some good saves second half but certainly two or three opportunities in the first half were guilt edge. I’m disappointed not to have taken them.
RM ” Does it feel like a big rebuild is required at Celtic?
NL : “Yes, I would say so, yes.
RM : “Are you the man–
NL : “I’ve done it before.
RM “–to do the rebuild?
NL: “I don’t see why not.
RM : “Has that been communicated to you by the club? Is there clarity on your position to the end of the season and beyond?
NL : “Well, yes so far, I’ve not been told anything otherwise so I carry on my duties as normal.
RM : ‘And you would like the chance to change things–
NL : ‘Yes, I love this job, I love the club, and I’ve had a lot of success. This has been a difficult season, in more ways than one, football and non-football reasons, so yes you always want to rebuild and go again.
RM : ‘Does it feel like this is the end of an era that was the quadruple treble team?
NL : ‘Yes, but it’s not a bad era to have..
RM : “No, it’s fantastic success
NL : “Nine league titles and four trebles, it’s incredible. I think it gets a bit overlooked. They are human beings at the end of the day and it was always going to come to an end at some stage.
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RM : “Sometimes you have to say that was it, that was glorious and let’s move on.
NL: “Absolutely, it’s the whole evolution of clubs.
RM: “ And you’re ready to–
NL : Rob, I’m not going to answer any more questions” [Walks away from microphone]
RM: “– with the rebuild.”
NL : [Further away from mic] “I’ve already answered that.”