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‘PLAYERS HAVE TO LOOK AT THEMSELVES,’ INSISTS SEETHING LENNON

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NEIL LENNON will look at drastic changes at Celtic as he prepares for Sunday’s crucial Premiership encounter against Motherwell at Fir Park.

The Hoops boss was seething after the calamitous performance against Sparta Prague in a Europa League Group H shocker where the champions were routed 4-1 to just about obliterate any chances of remaining in the competition beyond the turn of the year.

A pathetic, soulless display by Lennon’s side saw them flop to the bottom of the section with one point from a possible nine. The Czechs joined AC Milan in winning in the east end of Glasgow and the Scots picked up their solitary point in the 2-2 stalemate with Lille in France last week.

Lukas Julis scored a stunning hat-trick against strangely-lethargic opponents where the defence fell apart when it was put under any sort of pressure.

The central defensive pairing of Shane Duffy and Nir Bitton became a disaster area as the home side were picked off by their rivals who had been ravaged by injuries and Covid-19 issues and were without seven first-team regulars.

A furious Lennon, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “There needs to be a culture change within the club. I need to look at the culture, get them more hungry, get them back to basics. All those things Sparta did.

“We have to be far more aggressive in our play. As the manager, I have to accept responsibility, but the players have to look at themselves, too.

“It’s an accumulation of things catching up. We need to show a bit more humility and get back on the training ground. It’s a bitterly disappointing performance.

“We don’t do the basics well enough. The first goal, it should never get past the first post. It’s lackadaisical and we have to do better.

“The group is probably gone. We need to get some respect back with our next performance. I’ve been here a long time and that’s a very poor performance from a Celtic team.”

Lennon, who has seen his side concede FOURTEEN goals in their last six games, added: “We started the game okay and then got really ragged with the ball. Our passing, technique. I keep saying if we don’t defend set-pieces properly we’ll get punished.

“There was a lack of hunger and I don’t know where it’s come from because we’ve put in a really good performance on Sunday. I’ve defended the players up until now, but that was unacceptable.

“We go from top in the group last year against teams of a similar standing and now we’re one point in nine. I don’t know where that’s gone, so we need to take a look at that.

“We picked the same team because of the performance in Lille. Nothing surprises you in football, but that first-half performance was very poor. The defending for the third goal was very poor.

“This isn’t the biggest challenge I’ve faced in my time at the club. It feels like it is because it’s present. But it won’t happen again, that’s for sure.”

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Editor

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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