Neil Lennon addressed the media at yesterday’s press conference. Looking ahead to the Dundee United match, the Celtic boss told Celtic TV that he firmly believes that his team could win the title and only a fool would write them off.
The gaffer’s confidence stems from the change that he has seen within his players over the last few weeks. It’s quite alarming that it has taken until the end of December for this to happen, but it can only bode well for the future.
Lennon said: “I’ve definitely noticed a sea change in the attitude of some of the players and their body language and their performances as well.
“Thankfully, they’ve knuckled down now and they are contributing in a real positive way.
“I can’t put my finger on why but they look a lot happier and a lot more at ease with themselves. Obviously, it makes us a lot better too.
“Winning the Cup was huge for them. That was maybe playing on the back of their minds.
“Maybe it’s a burden off the shoulders now and they’re playing with a lot more freedom.
“The confidence is good, I wouldn’t say we’re bursting at the seams as yet but they’re well capable of going on a good run now.”
Fans were protesting for change outside Celtic Park in recent weeks, but Lennon has hung in there and slowly seen improvements. When broached on the issue, he said:
“It’s part of the job. It is never always plain sailing and every manager since the game started goes through a difficult period. I’ve had worse periods in my career. I played in League Two, I played in League One, I managed in the Championship.
“This is a high-pressure job, but that comes with the responsibility of the role. I am very happy with the way things are going at the minute. I’m not happy with the league position and where we find ourselves but our motivation is to rectify that as quickly as possible.
“I have learned a lot in my second spell here as manager in terms of experience and how to deal with players. Like I said all along, even going through the difficult times recently I was enjoying it. It was a test. I’m not saying I’ve come through it with flying colours or anything like that, but we have turned a little bit of a corner. That can change again in one 90 minutes so we are not getting carried away. We know we have a mountain of work ahead of us still to do. But anyone writing us off now would be foolish.”
The key to Celtic’s title success last year was a switch to two up front, and those two being Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard. The pair have rekindled their partnership in the last two games to great effect.
Lennon said: “Odsonne was outstanding at Hamilton, it’s the best I’ve seen him for quite a while. He does have a good relationship with Griff. Even the first couple of minutes, the little step-over and then the run in behind. Griff almost scored. We’ve missed that sort of combination play with strikers. So, that set the pulse for a really good performance.
“Griff’s a very good footballer, very intelligent striker and he was really on song again at the weekend. So, you’re just hoping they bring the best out of each other.”
Celtic take on Dundee United at Paradise today. No less than three points will do, but Lennon seems upbeat ahead of the task.