'His reputation will never be tarnished' - Paul Lambert jumps to defence of 'abandoned' Celtic boss Lennon
Paul Lambert has argued that Neil Lennon’s reputation at Celtic will “never be tarnished”, despite the ongoing difficulties that his side are facing.
The Hoops manager has come under immense pressure in recent weeks following a poor run of form that has left his side 20 points behind league leaders Rangers.
Matters were made worse by a controversial mid-season trip to Dubai, after which a number of key first team players had to go into isolation following Christopher Jullien’s positive Covid-19 test.
But even taking into consideration the recent challenges that his former teammate has faced at Parkhead, ex-Bhoys midfielder Lambert believes that Lennon will be fondly remembered by supporters.
Speaking to the Daily Record, he said: “Regardless of what happens this season, his reputation will never be tarnished.
“The Celtic support is hurting right now and rightly so, but when the dust settles, and it eventually will, Neil will be revered once again.
“You’ve got to remember Neil really has given his professional life to Celtic. He was an unbelievable player who was a massive part of the Martin O’Neill team which, in my opinion, galvanised the Celtic support back then.
“He has won silverware both as a player and manager, in two different spells.”
Lambert also admitted that regardless of Celtic finish their campaign, Lennon will find it difficult to salvage his current situation in Glasgow.
He said: “Winning every game from now until the end of the season isn’t going to put things right, it is too far gone, but with every point dropped it heaps more and more pain on the Celtic fans, so a strong run of results and performances will certainly make things a little easier for everyone.
“I think you need to forget about the title race and just try and restore some pride and dignity. Is it not how it should be but the Celtic players now need to focus fully on trying to make that gap at the end of the season as small as possible.
“Ultimately, it won’t make the slightest difference in terms of not achieving 10 In A Row. But at least show some passion and recognise how badly you’ve let down the Celtic support.”
The Ipswich Town boss went on to admit that he had made an effort to get in touch with Lennon recently, and reiterated just how badly the Bhoys’ current slump will be hurting the Northern Irishman.
“I haven’t always kept in regular contact with Neil", he said.
"You just get caught up in your own life and, especially, when you are in work and managing a football club.
"I did reach out to him a couple of weeks ago because I know how much the football club means to him and I know how much he’ll be hurting.
“He’s been abandoned by some people he would have expected to provide him with support and I wanted to try and help him if I could, so we’ve spoken a few times over the phone.
“It’s not nice to see him going through what he is going through currently.”