Soccer

"It was a huge tactical blunder from Neil Lennon" | Why Celtic crashed out

Kenneth Fox
Kenneth Fox

09:11 14 Aug 2019


Share this article


Tuesday night certainly did not go to plan for Neil Lennon and Celtic; the fourth time in six seasons that they have crashed out of the Champions League qualifying stage. 

Speaking to Off The Ball, BBC Sport's Tom English pinpointed what went wrong for the Hoops against CFR Cluj.

“Callum McGregor was taken out of his position of defensive midfielder and put to left-back.

“He was put there because the guy that they’ve signed to replace Kieran Tierney, Bolingoli who they got for €3m, isn’t up to it on the early evidence of this season.

“So they needed an emergency option because Neil Lennon didn’t trust Bolingoli to play left-back," he said.

English said Lennon's gamble did not pay off and it was the main reason they failed to progress.

“McGregor goes in at left-back and it destabilises the midfield and Cluj take advantage. Dan Petrescu probably couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“The amount of space that they were afforded in the middle of the park was incredible because McGregor wasn’t there.

"It was a huge tactical blunder from Neil Lennon."

Dinosaur manager

Despite being critical of Lennon, he feels that some of the criticism that has been directed at him has not been justified.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths appears dejected after the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow.

“I think that’s way over blown all that stuff [Lennon's perceived tactical naivete]; With Brendan Rodgers, if you get a reputation for being an early riser you can stay in bed all day long.

“Brendan Rodgers has this reputation of being a “cosmic” coach and that will be with him forever.

“Neil Lennon has a reputation of a being a bit of a dinosaur and I think it’s a false picture.”

“Lennon in Europe actually had far greater results than Brendan Rodgers ever had," said BBC Scotland's chief writer.

Unfortunately, Lennon has been subjected to sectarian abuse since his return to Celtic Park and English said it's something he is just used to now.

“Somebody throwing a coin at him has been the least of his worries. He's been physically assaulted, he has had graffiti saying "Hang Neil Lennon" outside Tynecastle, he's had the most horrendous abuse for a long period of time.

"The odd time when he is being verbally assaulted at various grounds for being a "Fenian b*stard", the odd time he will cup his ears and make a gesture.

"You've been subjecting this guy to verbal abuse for 90 mins and now you're protesting about cupping his ears at you?" he said.

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Share this article


Read more about

BBC Sport CFR Cluj Celtic Champions League Lennon Neil Lennon Tom English

Live: Title

Description

Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share

Next up in queue

Title
Description
Duration

There are currently no podcasts in the queue

Go to podcasts

On Air

OTB

OTB

Up next

OTB AM

OTB AM

07:00 AM-10:00 AM

Share

OTB AM Repeat

OTB AM Repeat

10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Share

Off The Bench

Off The Bench

12:00 PM-01:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

01:00 PM-02:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

02:00 PM-05:00 PM

Share

OTB

OTB

05:00 PM-06:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

06:00 PM-07:00 PM

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

07:00 PM-10:00 PM

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on