Neil Lennon believes he retains the unequivocal backing of the club’s main power brokers following an early morning video conference call yesterday.
A mirror image of the loss to the Czechs at Celtic Park three weeks ago, it extended the club’s dismal recent run to just two wins in nine matches — and cranked up the heat on Lennon.
Neil Lennon said he has the full backing of Celtic chiefs Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond
Already 11 points behind Rangers in the title race, a number of supporters are demanding a change in the hotseat in the hope that it sparks a turnaround in fortunes.
But Lennon, whose side face Ross County in the Betfred Cup tomorrow, is adamant that the key decision makers at Parkhead still have faith in him to plot a way out of the current slump.
‘I had a long chat with Peter (Lawwell) and Dermot (Desmond) on a Zoom call and we are totally united,’ he said.
‘We are totally together and we are determined that we will make this into a good season.
Lennon is under pressure following Celtic’s 4-1 defeat to Sparta Prague and Europa League exit
Celtic are already sat 11 points behind rivals Rangers in the Scottish Premier League title race
‘It was a very productive conversation and I have their full support.
‘They have been with me from day one — from the good times to what would be perceived to be a bad time.
‘It’s hugely encouraging to get their support but it’s not surprising. I have a good relationship with them.
‘They aren’t happy about things, no question, and they are honest, but they believe in me and I believe in them.’
Acknowledging that the conversation with his paymasters was forthright, Lennon says he is entirely comfortable with the nature of his working relationships.
‘It always is that way with Dermot. He’s honest with me and I am with him. It’s the same with Peter,’ added the Northern Irishman.
Desmond (left) and Lawwell (right) held an early morning Zoom call with Lennon on Friday
Lennon said he had an ‘honest’ conversation with Lawwell and Desmond about Celtic’s form
‘We aren’t smoothing over any cracks here. We aren’t saying everything is fine, it’s obviously not. We are honest enough with each other to debate that.
‘They are trying to help me and I am trying to help the players. It wasn’t like a huge ordeal for me.’
Lennon believes the issues surrounding his side are primarily psychological — with an expert in this field having recently been tasked with working with the players.
Citing the negative impact of the pandemic, the Celtic manager also hopes that further practical steps can be taken to make his players feel more comfortable in their working environment.
‘We are trying to do some refitting at Lennoxtown to create a lounge area, if you want to call it that,’ he explained. ‘They could relax there after training and we don’t have that amenity at the minute with the way things are with Covid.
Celtic’s defeat to Sparta Prague means they have won just two of their previous nine matches
‘The dressing rooms are split up, as are the eating times, so they don’t see each other until they get to the pitch.
‘That is difficult, so we are looking at different ways of getting them together at a socially distanced environment.
‘It could help them get to know each other a bit better.
‘Every club is in the same boat but maybe it has affected some more than others.’
With the remaining Europa League games against AC Milan and Lille now academic, Lennon hopes to gain some much-needed momentum from a kinder domestic schedule that sees them play five times at home before the end of the year.
‘We are very strong and durable,’ he continued. ‘I believe in the process but the players are struggling with some belief and confidence.
Lennon said the situation was far from ‘terminal’ and Celtic must now focus on the league
‘They played pretty well for large parts of the game in Prague. The scoreline flattered them. But that’s how it goes for you when you are going through a sticky patch.
‘That’s what it is — this isn’t terminal by any means. Europe is over now. We need to look at the domestic games.
‘The other two Europa League games will maybe give me a chance to freshen things up and get players some games.
‘I had a long chat with the players and what they need now is my support. I will give them energy and plenty of belief that they are good players.
‘They have proved that. Class is permanent and form is temporary. They will come good sooner rather than later.’