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‘BONKERS’: LENNON REACTS TO SOCIAL MEDIA CRITICISM

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NEIL LENNON admits there is now more strain on football managers than at any previous time in his career.

The Celtic boss, who is preparing his players for tomorrow night’s Premiership encounter with Livingston in West Lothian, reckons the demands to produce are “relentless” in a changing era.

Lennon has been at Parkhead for the bulk of this century over three spells and was used to being the centre of media attention as player and captain, even before first taking over as gaffer from the axed Tony Mowbray in 2010.

The 48-year-old Irishman answered the Hoops’ SOS in February last year following Brendan Rodgers’ sudden and unexpected departure for Leicester City and led the team to their eighth successive title triumph and also the Scottish Cup victory over Hearts that sealed the historic treble treble.

The Hoops are 12 points clear at the top of the Premiership with 10 games to go and have a Scottish Cup semi-final meeting with Aberdeen lined up for next month.

But Lennon and his players were still in line for criticism when they toppled out of the Europa League after an error-strewn second-half against FC Copenhagen in Glasgow that saw them exit on a 4-2 aggregate.

The Celtic chief, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “It’s always the case, it’s never been any different. I have been here 20 years in Scotland and it’s never changed.

“In fact, if anything it’s getting more and more pressurised with the way the media is and social media and analysis. Sometimes it’s unrealistic and sometimes the expectations are unrealistic, as well.

“It’s not just in Glasgow, it’s worldwide. People can get very, very personal. They have avenues to get personal with players, managers or whatever through social media.

“I think that’s a very difficult thing for the modern-day player to have to put up with.

“It’s bonkers. It’s not real. I am so glad I am not on it. I used to be on it years ago, but it took up too much of my time.”

Lennon, whose team made it 34 consecutive domestic Cup wins with 1-0 victory over St Johnstone, added: “We were really disappointed on Thursday night , but we put in a really strong performance on Sunday and I think that shows the quality that the team has.

“We are all bitterly disappointed to be out of Europe, we wanted to make inroads after a great group stage, and we just let ourselves down in a couple of moments.

“But over the course of the season the players have been unbelievable. There is no way I would sit there and criticise any individual or the team as a whole because they have been absolutely brilliant and it’s totally unnecessary.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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