Celtic employees past and present are at odds as the negative publicity continues
If Neil Lennon’s extraordinary press conference proved anything, it’s that the Celtic boss is not shy of a disagreement.
Andy Walker, the press and the Scottish Government were among those in the firing line, and Lennon also has some strong words for a former team-mate.
John Hartson played alongside Lennon in the side that reached 2003’s UEFA Cup Final, but the pair appear to disagree over Celtic’s future.
Speaking to Ten10 Podcasts, Hartson said: “I think a change is needed, the time has come.
“There are fifteen or sixteen games to go and it’s the perfect opportunity for the board to get together and say ‘We need to get this right’.
“They have to give another manager the opportunity to run the club now.
“The club need to put down a statement and say they need to change it, whether Neil goes at the end of the season or he goes now.
“It’s a tough call for me to say it, but it needs done now because it needs fresh faces in there and it needs a new team.
“I send Neil best wishes and good luck every time when he needs it, but to lose a league in such a big, big season like they have.
“At the end of the day, a load of the players – not just myself, but Chris Sutton, Stan Petrov, Thommo (Alan Thompson), myself, Henrik (Larsson) – we all love Neil Lennon.
“We all want him to succeed and were delighted when he brought home the quadruple treble.
“But I do genuinely think that with the situation in the league, change is needed from the bottom right up to the top.
“It has taken me probably up to the last couple of weeks, I said at the start of the season I’m behind the manager one hundred percent.
“Whenever I mention it or Chris or Stan Petrov mentions it, people say ‘your pal, your pal’.
“At the end of the day, there is loyalty there but it has taken me until recently to see if there is going to be a turnaround, but there hasn’t been much of a change or improvement in performances.
“Maybe the players need a different voice?
“Maybe Neil needs a new challenge and needs a little bit of fresh start? He’s done everything in his power to make it work and sometimes it just doesn’t work.
“Neil is intelligent enough and he’s got to see this.”
Lennon rebuffed Hartson’s suggestion, however, insisting that the opinion of his one-time colleague means nothing to him.
As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Lennon said: “John has an opinion, like more people on the periphery of the game.
“You either take it on board or you don’t. It has no impact on me. It means nothing.
“When he praises me, it means nothing. When he’s talking about me losing my job or being removed from my post, it means nothing to me.
“But when you are on the media side it’s an easy life.”
Celtic return to matters on the pitch when they face Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Wednesday night.
With the champions aiming to cut into Rangers’ 21-point lead, Lennon will be able to call on most of the players who were self-isolating and missed the draws at Celtic Park against Hibs and Livingston.