Flat Celtic leave Lennon feeling the heat
Celtic 0 Hibernian 0
Sunday 30 October 2011
The Hibernian fans were typically scathing in their assessment. "You'll be sacked in the morning," they sang as Neil Lennon walked grim-faced up the tunnel here. Their own team's performance had been spirited and so self-disciplined that they had drained the home side of allbut a sense of exasperation, yet the glee came from taunting the Celtic manager.
He is unlikely to become a victim of his team's malaise just yet, but disillusionment is growing in the stands, even if the supporters are loath to turn on one of their idols. Lennon is, instead, being diminished by costly results that have become so commonplace that they are now 12 points behind the leaders, Rangers, and three behind Motherwell in second place, although Celtic do have one game in hand.
Speculation mounted yesterday that Lennon is an increasingly legitimate target for the managerial vacancy at Leicester City, with the odds on his appointment tumbling. He is not yet at the stage of considering that kind of opportunity as a piece of fortuitous timing, but Lennon cannot continue for ever presiding over the demise of Celtic's title challenge.
"I'm not concerned about my position," Lennon said. "There are players who need to stop leaving it to others to carry the team. I'll need to out them, speak to them and get a response. Leicester are a great club and they've spent a lot of money, but I like what I do here. I don't enjoy it when you get flat performances like this, but Celtic is a bigger challenge than most other clubs in the world."
Celtic were subdued by the industry and deployment of a Hibernian team that had every right still to be traumatised by their 4-1 League Cup defeat to these opponents last Wednesday night. Apart from a Gary Hooper shot into the side-netting and an Anthony Stokes effort that Graham Stack, the Hibs goalkeeper, stopped with his feet, Celtic were unproductive.
They could not shake the languor after the interval, although James Forrest did hit the crossbar. Hibs were dogged rather than inventive, but Leigh Griffiths showed the wherewithal to flick the ball up from a free-kick and steer a volley from 25 yards just wide. It was a piece of individual aplomb, but the mood at Celtic Park was one of discontent rather than admiration.
Celtic (4-4-2): Forster; Wilson, Rogne, Mulgrew, Matthews; Forrest, Kayal (Wanyama, 76), Ki (McCourt, 76), Ledley; Hooper (Samaras, 82), Stokes.
Hibernian (4-3-2-1): Stack; Wotherspoon, O'Hanlon, Stephens, Hanlon; Osbourne, Stevenson, Galbraith; Agogo (Sproule, 77), O'Connor (Thornhill, 77); Griffiths (Palsson, 88).
Referee Calum Murray.
Man of the match Stevenson (Hibernian).
Match rating 5/10.
Latest in Sport
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Sir Alex Ferguson reveals who he thinks is better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Chelsea transfer news: 'Eden Hazard will cost Real Madrid £100m - and a Galactico,' says Jose Mourinho
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove