Celtic: Neil Lennon irked by fans' 'dangerous rhetoric' as criticism continues

By David CurrieBBC Scotland
Celtic fans protested outside the stadium following the recent cup loss to Ross County
Celtic fans protested outside the stadium following the recent cup loss to Ross County
Europa League: Celtic v Lille
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Date: Thursday, 10 December Time: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen to BBC Radio Scotland and follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

Manager Neil Lennon says some Celtic supporters have taken criticism of himself and the board too far by engaging in "dangerous rhetoric".

A banner reading "Shoot the board" was displayed outside Celtic Park as fans' unrest continues after recent protests.

It came after Lennon, whose side end their doomed Europa League campaign against Lille on Thursday, was again publicly backed by the board on Monday amid a run of two wins in 12 games.

"We don't want divisions," Lennon said.

"I understand the frustrations and the players are feeling that as well. But we don't like that kind of language or expression anywhere near the stadium. It serves no purpose really.

"From some sections of the support, it is dangerous rhetoric. What I will say is we all want the same thing. Those fans want success.

"We all want unity. We have got that certainly from the football side of things and we just want the supporters to get behind the team, especially when they need it."

Celtic's pursuit of a record 10th Scottish in title is floundering, with Rangers 13 points ahead having played two games more, while Lennon's side have been eliminated from Europe and the League Cup.

And fans' group The Celtic Trust have called for a "Covid-compliant, organised protest" on Sunday, asking supporters who wish to air their concerns peacefully to gather at the stadium two hours before the league match with Kilmarnock - and at no other time.

But Lennon says the players are "really happy" that the board have supported him to turn around the club's fortunes.

"I think it sort of settles everyone down," he added. "I know it settles the players down for sure.

"They are really happy about that, thankfully from my point of view. It's full steam ahead."

Lennon accepts the pressure of trying to deliver a 10th successive title is weighing heavily on some players, although he insists "there is not a lot wrong" with his team and vowed results will improve.

"We're lacking a rub of the green and cohesion at times," he said.

"To radically change everything and go, 'Right, this isn't working, we have to rip it up and start again,' is not the correct way to do things.

"I don't want to make too much of an issue out of it because we're dominating games in terms of possession and chances. We will get a full all-round performance hopefully sooner rather than later and then consistency will kick in almost like muscle memory."

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