Neil Lennon: Celtic board back manager for second week running

"In light of the ongoing speculation regarding the position of our football manager, Neil Lennon, the board of Celtic Football Club wishes to make clear its continuing support for Neil and his backroom team."

Neil Lennon looks on
Image: Celtic boss Neil Lennon saw his side fall 13 points behind league leaders Rangers

Celtic's board have given under-pressure manager Neil Lennon their public backing for a second week running.

Further protests from unhappy fans followed Sunday's 1-1 home draw with St Johnstone as Celtic went five games without a win to trail Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers by 13 points.

A home defeat by Ross County in the Betfred Cup the previous Sunday sparked angry scenes outside Celtic Park with police reporting three injuries for their officers and the club claiming players were left "shaken" after being targeted by missiles.

After defeat by AC Milan and more dropped Premiership points, there were again protests on Sunday amid a heavy police presence with footage showing fans running after the team buses to express their displeasure.

But the Parkhead power-brokers have stood by Lennon, who can clinch last season's treble on December 20 when Celtic face Hearts in the delayed Scottish Cup final.

Neil Lennon
Image: Lennon kept his his job following angry protests after the Betfred Cup defeat by Ross County

A Celtic statement read: "In light of the ongoing speculation regarding the position of our football manager, Neil Lennon, the board of Celtic Football Club wishes to make clear its continuing support for Neil and his backroom team.

"The board recognises and understands the importance of winning the league championship this season and that, as Neil himself has made clear, recent performances and results have been disappointing. The board is committed to delivering success for Celtic supporters.

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"The board has carefully considered the current circumstances and the challenges that we are faced with, not least the pressure on the management and players to deliver the tenth championship in a row that is so important to us all. Equally important is to continue to operate according to our Club's values. The board has come to the conclusion that our collective objective is best served by continuing to support Neil and his team as they seek solutions for those challenges.

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Lennon says certain problems with his side seem 'psychological' as their slump continued with a draw at home to St Johnstone

"Neil has the support of the players and staff at the club. He understands the pressure and the environment. As his outstanding record as a manager, captain and player demonstrates, he knows what it takes to be successful at Celtic and he has delivered success with many of the current squad of players, who understand his method and approach.

"Whilst it has been suggested that it is time for a change, at this stage in the season the board believes that Neil and his management team are best placed to turn the team's performances around and lead us on to success. The board continues to work closely with Neil and his team to support them as they seek to do so and progress will be reviewed in the new year.

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Murdo MacLeod feels Celtic's defensive errors are proving costly to the side and believes Rangers' fine form is further highlighting their problems

"The board wishes to take this opportunity to thank all Celtic supporters for their support during this challenging year. The response of the support to the challenges that we all face together has been magnificent. It is therefore important to make clear that the board has never, as it has been inaccurately reported, referred to any Celtic supporter as 'entitled'.

"The board recognises the range of views expressed by our supporters and the strength of those opinions. Whilst there may not always be agreement, there is certainly a common goal - the success of Celtic Football Club - and we will continue to work together to seek to achieve that success."

Already-eliminated Celtic host Europa League Group H leaders Lille on Thursday before welcoming Kilmarnock to Parkhead on Sunday.

They then take on Hearts at Hampden before facing Ross County, Hamilton and Dundee United ahead of their trip to Ibrox on January 2.

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