I’m incredibly disappointed for Neil Lennon given the way his time as Celtic manager came to an end.
Lenny is a pal of mine and, as I said in a column in December, I make no apologies for showing support for him.
He was a good team-mate during my playing career and he’s a good friend too.
Football is a funny old game – Lenny stepped in when Brendan Rodgers left for Leicester before going on to win five trophies while Steven Gerrard has had the longest run a Rangers manager’s gone without lifting silverware and stayed in a job.
You couldn’t have predicted it would end up this way.
But it has – and I’m certain Lenny is carrying the can for a lot of people right now. We’re too quick to jump on just one person and others need to take a look at themselves.
Reasons behind disappointing season
For me, the best thing he could’ve done is to go just now because it was getting to a horrible stage.
Everyone wanted 10 in a row, it was huge for Celtic, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Just how did they go from winning things to where they were the other night against Ross County?
Rangers fans – and supporters of other clubs – will probably disagree but I do think not having fans in stadiums could be a factor.
Celtic’s players thrived on it and they consistently handled pressure situations these past few seasons.
The recruitment at Parkhead hasn’t been great at all.
The Celtic business model has paid dividends in recent times but you can’t sell guys like Kieran Tierney – now a top class English Premier League operator – and expect to maintain the same standards in the short term by taking a chance on domestic players with potential and loan signings.
Lenny’s managerial career will go on, he’s a strong character. Look at what he’s been through in Scotland.
The main thing right now is that him and the family are okay. He needs to take a bit of time to recharge his batteries and then look for another challenge.
He’s too young to stay on the golf course.
Punditry will always be an option for him but I know he enjoys the management side of football.
At Arbroath, I’m learning under Dick Campbell, the wisest old dog in the Scottish game and you see him come alive on a Saturday.
That’s what it’s all about for him, the pressure and excitement of match-days. Neil Lennon is the same.
The online abuse Lenny’s taken is something that puts me off management to a certain degree.
You need rhino skin to deal with a lot of it and it’s the same for players as well.
What’s next for Celtic?
For Celtic, you’d imagine they’ll try to get someone in to replace Lenny before the season finishes and I can’t see John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan being there come the end of 2020/21.
An overhaul is needed sooner rather than later so the club can get focus on the next campaign.
Appointing a big name will help on the recruitment front and the new man will be taking on a huge job so he’ll want his own people in with him – and that’s not something Neil had the luxury of in his second spell.
The players in the dressing room won’t be feeling great about the situation because nobody likes to see anyone losing their job.
At Leicester, we had seven managers in the space of a couple of years and it was tough.
Sadly, though, this is the industry we’re in.
I’m delighted to say I predicted a Livingston-St Johnstone Betfred Cup final before the semis.
As an ex-Meadowbank Thistle/Livi player, I’m going to go with my heart and say they will win on Sunday.
It’s refreshing for football to see two of the so-called smaller teams in the top flight competing for silverware and both David Martindale and Callum Davidson are doing incredible jobs.