Celtic Celtic goalkeeper lost three home games in a row in the Europa League for the first time.
Celtic’s hope to qualify for the Europa League of Group H has almost disappeared after the unfortunate 4-1 defeat at home with Braies Sparta.
But Neal Lennon’s problems go deeper, and the manager talks about the need to change the culture of his players.
For the first time in 30 years they lost three home games in a row and returned to the Scottish Premier League on Sunday, nine points behind the Rangers leaders but with two games in hand.
But where has it been so far in the season of disappointment with the Celtic support?
Dismantled and wireless – how did Sparta win?
Former Scottish midfielder Michael Stewart: The Celts have been dismantled, which is really something special. They dominated most of this game. It’s fair to play with them, but Sparta Prague doesn’t even know how to play at home, I’m not even sure they can train right now.
For Celtic it’s really about results and performance. Although there have been improvements in recent races, the Celtic has been reset to zero and maybe even further.
Former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner: The difference between the two teams is that Sparta plays as a team. They all seemed to be there as a group.
Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton plays for BT Sport : One of the most cowardly displays of the Celtic team I’ve ever seen. Many Celtic fans say that Europe is not important this year. I’m sorry, of course. You play for Celtic, you want to compete in Europe. To be honest, the Celts did not compete with each other, either in form or content.
Celtic spent more time in ball possession against Sparta of Prague in their half.
Fragility and lack of confidence – Reasons for protection?
Michael Stewart: Celtic problems are only solved when they learn how to protect themselves properly. They’re so vulnerable.
Pat Bonner: The Celts are poorly defended at the front. I’m talking about structured protection. Maybe you make a mistake or get out, but someone else is behind you. They weren’t all over the field.
Former Scotland striker James McFadden: It’s easy to defend in defense, but all over the field they were defeated by a team that kept a close eye on the game. In general, it was not good enough as a team performance.
I thought they dumped him. Is it the players’ fault?
Michael Stewart: If you look at the team, and with all the talent, I think it still lacks energy and drive. Some of the guys you want to bet on, they’ve been doing it for a long time. It seems that the fresh blood that was brought in had no effect.
Pat Bonner: Why does a team that has dominated for so long collapse like that? Good performance only takes place at intervals of about 20 minutes. It doesn’t take more than 90 minutes, or even two or three matches. I don’t know if it’s a mentality or a physical thing, or if it’s leadership or the environment.
Shane Duffy seems depressed full time.
James McFadden: I know we’re talking about managers, and after a few losses, people push people to leave. But if you look at these players tonight, you don’t see enough to control the game. If you lose the game in which you fight, you fight on the field, it’s not enough.
Chris Sutton: What I doubt is the loyalty of the players. Tonight there’s a player in the stands with his cell phone. This is absolutely, totally unacceptable. This is outrageous. Was he hired? Is he loyal to the club? This is totally unacceptable.
If I was a director, I’d punish him for two weeks. The Leigh Griffiths fitting is a brilliant option for Neil Lennon – he can’t worry about getting in shape. It sums up the Celtic wardrobe of the time. I thought they dumped him tonight.
Under pressure – What are the next steps for Lennon and Celtic?
Michael Stewart: Internally, the Celts fear that the current [Premiership] games will not be played until next year. So there’s a good chance Celtic’s even further behind the Rangers, Christmas is just around the corner. Psychologically, this could be decisive. If you look at Celtic’s next gadgets, you won’t see where the jogging came from.
Pat Bonner: The Rangers can take real positions in the league in the coming weeks. It’s gonna be a tough break for Celtic. You need some kind of breed. Now that they’ve left Europe, they need to concentrate on the competition. It is a very difficult time for any manager and he will have a few sleepless nights.
James McFadden: It’s Celtic’s first rough patch since Lennon’s return. Look at the state of the club when he got here. OK, the team had tripled before, but it was still a bit chaotic when he arrived. He brought the ship back to its place, managed to triple it. He deserves time. But now the teams are going to start looking at Celtic and thinking: What can we get from them?
Chris Sutton: Neil Lennon’s under a lot of pressure. The teams believe they can make it to Celtic. This Prague team from Sparta absolutely beat them – it’s pathetic. It was a dismissal of the Rangers, if that’s possible. You’ve let yourself down. Neal Lennon will find out, but he’ll end up wearing a can.