Celtic: Neil Lennon 'will get more time' - Shaun Maloney's Sportscene analysis

Celtic's winless run in all competitions has extended to a fifth game, with Sunday's 1-1 draw against St Johnstone further intensifying the pressure on manager Neil Lennon.

His defending champions are 13 points behind Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers, albeit with two games in hand, out of the League Cup and out of Europe after this Thursday's dead rubber against Lille in the Europa League.

Sportscene pundits Shaun Maloney, a former Celtic team-mate of Lennon's, and Michael Stewart assess the challenge now facing a club that has known nothing but domestic success for the past four seasons.

'He'll get more time'

Lennon has the backing of Celtic's major shareholder Dermot Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell, but acknowledged himself that their support was not unconditional.

Maloney was asked if Lennon could survive the latest set-back.

"That question becomes harder to answer with each game that they don't win," said the former Scotland midfielder.

"But it's been five days since the board came out, backed him, asked the support to be together. That makes me think he'll get more time."

Celtic have managed just three goals in their last three domestic games, which is well short of their normal scoring rate in Scotland. Lennon's side averaged just under three per game in the Premiership last term.

James Forrest, a frequent scorer and provider for Celtic in recent years, has been injured since late September and Lennon has chopped and changed his wide players in recent games.

"When you try and get some players wide, you want them to have a one v one threat," Maloney said.

"And, at the moment, Celtic and the profile of the players they have, they don't really have that in those wide areas."

Former Hearts, Hibernian and Scotland midfielder Stewart agrees.

Neil Lennon and James Forrest
Lennon has missed Forrest's goals and assists

"They don't have players at the moment that are confident and capable of committing players one v one," he said.

"They don't get overloads in those areas either, it becomes too narrow and teams know how to play against that. They're confident that they can catch Celtic on the counter attack."

'A toxic combination'

Celtic won 11 of their opening 13 games in all competitions this term but a 2-0 defeat at home to Rangers in October prompted their current run of two wins from 12.

And Stewart believes the Old Firm derby defeat "really has decimated Celtic".

"Since that Rangers game, it has fallen apart," he added. "A lot of the difficulties you could see when they were winning the games have just come to the fore since that defeat.

"They can't break teams down and they can't defend and they're being punished for it. It's a toxic combination."

Celtic results 'aren't good enough' - Lennon

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