Neil Lennon has said that Celtic’s home defeat to St Mirren marks “the lowest point” of his time in charge at the club.
Kristian Dennis gave St Mirren the lead at Celtic Park before the hosts equalised through Odsonne Edouard. But Ilkay Durmus scored a winner for Saints that leaves Celtic 23 points behind Rangers in the Premiership and the side continuing to struggle for consistent form.
Lennon, in his second spell as manager at the club, said things had never been so low, before turning his attentio nto players he felt were failing him.
“I would say this is the lowest point of my management here, over the six years I have been manager,” he said.
“This is a real test of adversity and you have got to show strength. I want to show strength but I need some support and performances from players.
“Too many of them have been insipid this season, to say the least. Whatever walk of life you are in you need to have a form of professional pride. Especially at a club like this.
‘To be fair to the players, over the years they have done. That has been sadly lacking this season, for whatever reason.
“Maybe the pressure of doing the 10 has been too much for them. Maybe they have just got tired of winning, tired of playing in Scotland, tired of living in Scotland, I don’t know. That’s a question you need to ask them.
“It was dreadful. Just not good enough. We deserved what we got today.”
Searching for a reason for the team’s dramatic loss of form this season, the Northern Irishman said he was at a loss to explain it. When asked if players were letting him down, he said: “Honestly, at this minute I think yes, they are. And they have done for quite a while this season.
“It’s difficult to turn it round. You are looking for motivation, ideas. We have tried different formations, 4-3-3, 3-5-2, 4-diamond-2.
“So we haven’t changed our philosophy or training programme. I just think the mindset of some of the players has changed.
“If we play like that we are going to win nothing. If we approach the opposition like that we are going to win nothing.”
Lennon also confirmed that he was hoping to recruit Preston defender Ben Davies before Monday’s transfer deadline but admitted: “We’d like that to happen but again I can’t say for sure if that’s going to happen or not”.
St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin was keen to see his side get the plaudits for their victory amidst the talk of Celtic’s failure.
He said: “I don’t think it was a case of Celtic not being at it. I wouldn’t say they weren’t trying.
“You could see they were desperate to get on the ball and make things happen.
“My players deserve all the credit. Sometimes it’s all about how bad Celtic or Rangers are after these results and the opposition don’t get the credit they deserve.
“But I hope my players get it today. Their work rate and effort was unbelievable and we played some really good football, especially in the first half.
“After 65 minutes we were a bit tired and dropped a bit deeper. But I’m just delighted that we didn’t switch off or lose concentration in the dying moments.
“Because against a quality team like Celtic, with the players they have, it would have been very easy to do that.”