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Alan Brazil: It’s time for Celtic to bring back Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon (PA Wire/Press Association Images)
Neil Lennon (PA Wire/Press Association Images)

But is he a great Celtic manager? I don’t think so.

That’s something I’ve been honest about for a long time.

It’s not that I’ve got anything against the Norwegian personally. It’s just that I care about the team he’s in charge of.

I grew up supporting Celtic. They are the club I played for as a kid.

So when I see weaknesses developing, I can’t help but look for answers.

Okay,  so the Bhoys are top of the Premiership and in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.

But the European failures of Deila’s reign are glaring, whilst domestically Aberdeen are too close for comfort.

That’s why I’ve advocated for Ronny’s removal in the past.

Way back in October of last year, after the Bhoys’ embarrassing Europa League mauling in Molde, I called on Peter Lawwell to bring Neil Lennon back to Parkhead.

It didn’t happen.

Now, having left Bolton Wanderers, Lenny is available and I believe even more strongly than before that Celtic should snap him up.

And it appears I’m not alone in feeling it’s time for a change.

Why else would speculation about Deila’s future be mounting? Why else would out-of-work managers be throwing their hats into the ring to replace him?

Davie Moyes and Malky Mackay have both given interviews in the past week in which they failed to duck questions about the Parkhead manager’s job.

And while Deila seems unfazed by the whole thing, the uncertainty surrounding his position must be having an effect on the club – and on the players.

I just don’t see how that could not be the case.

I admire Leigh Griffiths for trying to stick up for his boss. That’s an honourable thing for him to do.

But it won’t stop people who care about Celtic from having their opinions.

My concerns aren’t just about the current campaign – or the last one for that matter.

They are about the future – next season, the one after that and beyond.

It’s not just that Rangers are on their way back. It’s the fact that Aberdeen will only get stronger. Hearts too.

Two years ago, if you’d told me that the Dons and the Jam Tarts would be looking more and more like legitimate threats to Celtic at this point, I’d have laughed at you.

If you’d told me there would be no Champions League football, I’d have been gutted. If you’d said crowds at Celtic Park would plummet to below 20,000, I’d have been stunned.

But those are the facts – and they reflect badly on Deila’s spell in charge.

The time is now for Celtic to stop consolidating and start strengthening. It’s time to aim high rather than set the bar low.

That’s the only way to bring the crowds back, it’s the only way to reach the Champions League after two seasons away, and it’s the only way to guarantee domestic success.

Can Ronny Deila lead that project? I’m sorry, but I have seen nothing to suggest he can.

When it comes to Neil Lennon, there’s no doubt in my mind, and there’s proof of that from his time as Celtic manager.

So I believe it’s now time for the Parkhead Board to act.


Alan Brazil: Champions League closed shop would be a disaster