LEN­NON SLAMS HOOPS HOL­I­DAY­MAK­ERS

Furious Len­non slams mis­fir­ing Hoops af­ter Easter Road stale­mate

Evening Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY MATTHEW LINDSAY AT EASTER ROAD

NEIL Len­non last night warned his un­der­per­form­ing Celtic play­ers the “hol­i­days aren’t here yet” fol­low­ing their dis­ap­point­ing 0-0 draw with Hiber­nian at Easter Road.

Len­non, who re­vealed that Kieran Tier­ney will see a spe­cial­ist about his per­sis­tent pelvic and hip prob­lems on Thurs­day and might not fea­ture again this sea­son, was un­happy at how his men played against his for­mer club.

Len­non said: “We are go­ing for the ti­tle, the hol­i­days aren’t here yet. You’ve got to win the games and that’s what is an­ger­ing me at the mo­ment.

“We are up and down at the minute and the at­ti­tude of some of the play­ers is not mak­ing me happy.”

NEIL Len­non last night warned his un­der­per­form­ing Celtic play­ers the “hol­i­days aren’t here yet” fol­low­ing their dis­ap­point­ing 0-0 draw with Hiber­nian at Easter Road.

Len­non, who re­vealed that Kieran Tier­ney will see a spe­cial­ist about his per­sis­tent pelvic and hip prob­lems on Thurs­day and might not fea­ture again this sea­son due to the pain he is cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, was deeply un­happy at how his men played against his for­mer club.

The North­ern Ir­ish­man, in in­terim charge at Park­head un­til the end of the sea­son, has been re­luc­tant to be too crit­i­cal of the triple tre­ble-chasing team he in­her­ited since tak­ing over on a tem­po­rary ba­sis back in Fe­bru­ary. How­ever, the 47-year-old ad­mit­ted he had been furious with their flat dis­play and had let his charges, who are now nine points ahead of Rangers in the Lad­brokes Pre­mier­ship with four games re­main­ing, know in no un­cer­tain terms their dis­play was un­ac­cept­able.

Celtic can win their eighth con­sec­u­tive Scot­tish ti­tle next week­end if they beat Kil­marnock at home on Satur­day and then their near­est chal­lengers Rangers fail to de­feat Aberdeen at Ibrox the fol­low­ing day.

But Len­non said: “We are go­ing for the ti­tle, the hol­i­days aren’t here yet. For­get about the noise out there – ‘you can win it here, you can win it there’. You’ve got to win the games and that’s what is an­ger­ing me at the mo­ment.

“We are up and down at the minute and the at­ti­tude of some of the play­ers is not mak­ing me happy.

“I’ve told them what I ex­pect from here on in.

“I just didn’t like our ap­proach to the game. We looked a bit lack­adaisi­cal, we lacked phys­i­cal­ity at times, we lacked en­ergy and we lacked qual­ity.

“Sim­ple, ba­sic de­ci­sion mak­ing was not there to­day, par­tic­u­larly in the first half. The sec­ond half was a lot bet­ter. When the game opened up, we looked as if we were go­ing to score and score at will.

“Maybe it is the gen­eral con­sen­sus out there [that Celtic have won the league]. But we are dic­tat­ing our own des­tiny here and we have to dic­tate it a lit­tle bit bet­ter than we have in the last two league games. That’s it.

“We are not there yet. I be­lieve even­tu­ally we will get there. We don’t want to run be­fore we can walk, but we have to ap­proach the games with a bet­ter tempo. But I’m not get­ting pan­icky, I’m not get­ting anx­ious about any­thing.

“The game opened up when Hibs started to tire, but our de­ci­sion mak­ing was poor at times. It was very, very frus­trat­ing. It was from qual­ity play­ers all over the board – the de­ci­sion mak­ing was dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend at times.

“I don’t know if there is anxiety there. There shouldn’t be. We cer­tainly haven’t passed it on, if there is. But I think we have to start games as well as we did last week in the semi­fi­nal. If we do, then we will be alright. We didn’t to­day and let Hibs get a foothold in the game.”

Asked what he had said to his

play­ers at half-time, Len­non replied:

“That’s not for pub­lic con­sump­tion. But I wanted more.

“I feel we were wor­thy of more than a point. To be fair, the Hibs goal­keeper made some world class saves. By all ac­counts he got man of the match, so that says a lot about what we were do­ing in the sec­ond half.

“In the first half, I didn’t think we played well at all. So I’m un­happy about that. But sec­ond half was much more like us.”

Tier­ney, who played in the 3-0 win over Aberdeen in the Scot­tish Cup semi-fi­nal eight days ago, was left out of the Celtic squad and Len­non con­firmed he may not play against this sea­son. “He is see­ing a spe­cial­ist on Thurs­day about his pelvic and groin area,” the North­ern Ir­ish­man said.

“He is just in too much dis­com­fort at the minute to play. We will have to go with what we are ad­vised by the spe­cial­ist on Kieran.

“It may be a pos­si­bil­ity that we don’t see him again this sea­son. That would not be ideal, with what we have got in front of us, but that may be the case.

“He has played through the pain for quite a while but it’s got to the

point where he is just in too much pain. We’ll see what the con­sul­tant says and take it from there. He may re­quire surgery but we are try­ing to hold that off un­til the end of the sea­son.”

Scott Bain, the Celtic goalie who kept his 20th clean sheet in 26 starts for the Park­head club, felt his side, who forced two out­stand­ing saves from Hiber­nian keeper Ofir Mar­ciano in in­jury-time, had de­served to win.

“It was a good per­for­mance,” he said. “It was just a lit­tle bit frus­trat­ing that we couldn’t get the win. We created a num­ber of good chances at the end but credit goes to Ofir for a big save in the dy­ing mo­ments.

“I felt we con­trolled the game in the sec­ond half. So for me it was a mat­ter of con­cen­tra­tion. I thought one of those chances was go­ing to come off for us but un­luck­ily for us, it never hap­pened.

“The clean sheets is an im­pres­sive record to look at, but credit goes to the whole team for that. From the back four to the way we de­fend from the front, it’s been ex­cep­tional.

“Against Hibs, we wanted to win. It was frus­trat­ing that we never did. I hon­estly don’t care how we finish – as long as we finish as cham­pi­ons.”

Celtic boss Neil Len­non shows his frus­tra­tion as his side draw 0-0 with Hiber­nian. Len­non said ‘the at­ti­tude of some play­ers is not mak­ing me happy’

Bain ‘doesn’t care’ how Celtic finish as long as they win league

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