Celtic proceeded to drop two more points after Lennon had enough of BBC Sportsound’s questions
Wednesday night ended badly for Neil Lennon, but it didn’t start particularly well for the Celtic manager either.
Celtic made it four consecutive league games without a win as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Livingston, who had also drawn 0-0 with them in Glasgow on Saturday.
It was a frustrating evening for the champions, who saw Scott Brown sent off just five minutes after he came on in the second half.
The result leaves them 20 points behind Rangers, with their chances of achieving 10-in-a-row looking ever more remote.
Lennon was already under pressure prior to kick-off, with Monday’s heated press conference adding to the negative publicity that has surrounded the club since their controversial trip to Dubai.
On BBC Scotland’s Sportsound, Kenny Macintyre asked Lennon about his recent comments prior to kick-off.
The interview ended with Macintyre confirming to host Jane Lewis that Lennon had walked off.
Here’s the full transcript of their exchange.
Neil, you must be delighted to be back directly involved on a match day?
“Yeah I am looking forward to it. I have sort of been building up to this for a few weeks now and some of the players who are starting tonight have not played since the Rangers game and I think they are highly motivated to get out and play a game as well.”
I was here last midweek. A very late call-off – the pitch looks in great nick. Are you happy with it?
“Yeah and there is plenty of moisture on top that will take the dryness out of it. Hopefully we can get a bit of zip on it.”
You had quite the media conference on Monday. What reaction have you had to that?
Anyone from within in the club, from fans?
“Not really, no. I am not on social media or anything like that so I covered everything that I wanted to say Kenny.”
Do you stand by it?
“Absolutely. I said everything I wanted to say on Monday. If you want to ask me about the game, fine, but there is no point dwelling on it.
“This is going to get mileage and run on and on if you keep biting at me.”
Can I ask you one question? I think it has got to a serious level when we have the Deputy First Minister here talking about your allegations today saying it was absolutely appalling.
“That is his opinion. It is his opinion. That’s the end of it.”
Was it your representation on Monday or was it the club that you were representing? Did you have to run by Peter Lawwell what you said at that media conference on Monday?
“Kenny, you are still asking me about the interview.”
So you are not going to say any more about it?
“No. You’ve had enough mileage out of it the last couple of days.”
I just think when you come out all guns blazing which you did Neil and people have had a response. St Johnstone and Hamilton Accies not happy for example. Do you stand by that?
“I am giving my opinion on what I saw. The protocols in place as far as we are concerned are different standard from what other teams do.
“We’ve had to drive to the game tonight.”
Are they wrong when they refute your allegations about the changing facilities you had at these football grounds?
“In my opinion yeah.”
So you stand by that?
One final thing. Were you surprised what you said at that media conference that generated a lot of headlines on Monday didn’t appear on Celtic’s social media yet Scott Brown’s media conference yesterday did?
Is that an indication that the club weren’t happy?
“Maybe. I don’t control the social media side of the club.”
Was Peter Lawwell happy with what you said?
“We’ve spoken about it and that will remain private.”
In terms of your position at the club. You were asked about the review into your position on Monday and you said you had no update.
Is that something you are concerned about? Will you be seeking answers in the next week or so?
“No. I am just getting on with my job. I’ve got a game to think about tonight and I am looking forward to it.”
Is it not uncertainty for you?
“You are always uncertain in this job.”
What are you expecting from this Livingston side this evening?
“Yeah they are on a great run and have freshened the team up. Obviously they are thinking about the semi-final as well.
“Maybe they have players playing for places so as always with a Davie Martindale team, highly motivated and difficult to get a result.”
What about your players? How are they feeling?
“I think there is a source of frustration. They want to take their frustrations out in the best way they can and that is getting out and playing football again.”
How are you personally feeling? Everyone is struggling in this pandemic but someone like yourself, who is in the public arena.
There is a lot of criticism that’s come your way. How difficult have you found it?
“I feel great. My ten days at home which I found really difficult but I feel great, bullish and looking forward to the rest of the season.
“It was great to get back to working with the players on a day-to-day basis and I am looking forward to getting down and doing what I am supposed to do which is managing the club.”
You were bullish in a lot of areas in that media conference on Monday
“You are bringing it up again, Kenny.”
Is it not important Neil in terms of the title race? People will say you are just being realistic that it may be beyond you now, but a lot of people will say that is defeatist if you like
“Everything about my press conference was realistic. That is the way I talk to you guys all the time. If some people don’t like it, fine.”
What is your understanding of where you are at this club? What do you think you need to do to stay at this club?
“Win football games.”
Do you think you are one defeat away? I mean that was what I was talking about the review. The uncertainty you are working under must be tough?
“I am not working under any uncertainty. Until I am told otherwise I will just do my job the best I can which I wasn’t able to do the last couple of week.
“Is that us yeah?”