Celtic: Neil Lennon says psychology could give side 'another edge'

By Jonathan SutherlandBBC Scotland
Dermot Desmond
Dermot Desmond spoke about a "fear factor" in European competition for Celtic

Celtic are open to help from a psychologist if it gives their players "another edge", said manager Neil Lennon.

Majority shareholder Dermot Desmond spoke of a "fear factor" in relation to European competition during an interview with The Athletic.external-link

But while Lennon does not believe that is the case, the manager insists he is keeping an open mind.

"We're still looking to try and improve as best we can," he said.

"If that means looking at the psychological side of it, then we will. I spoke to Dermot, I spoke to Peter [Lawwell, chief executive], I spoke to the board, we've covered all aspects from the bosses upstairs. It can be individually or it can be as a group.

"We're looking at a few sort of scenarios where we may introduce it to the group or we may introduce it to certain individuals but it's an ongoing process and it's been something in the offing for over a year."

Celtic have failed to qualify for the Champions League since Brendan Rodgers' second season in charge in 2017-18.

Last year, they were dumped into the Europa League by Romanian side Cluj, and they came up short this term at home to Hungarian champions Ferancvaros.

But Lennon says that exit was more to do with bad luck than a "psychological blockage" spoken about by Desmond.

"I don't think it was anything to do with the players' mindset," said the Celtic manager.

"We've equalised, we've hit the bar, we've had a goal disallowed and then we just lost concentration for a split second.

"So, it was one that got away from us and you look at the this team over a period of time, mentally, they're very, very strong and they have handled big occasions and big moments very, very well."

'Draw could have been a lot worse'

Celtic face Riga in Latvia next week for a place away in the Europa League play-off to face either Sarajevo or Buducnost Podgorica.

"We're away so again it's difficult," added Lennon. "It is important that we have Europa League football going into the first half of the season.

"So, hopefully we can negotiate Riga and then we'll see.

"We played Sarajevo before, we had a couple of decent results against them. It could have been a lot worse, the draw, but could have been a lot better as well."

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