Celtic captain Scott Brown has said that it was “a sad day” when he learned that Neil Lennon has left his post as manager, and says the Northern Irishman is “a legend of the club”.
Brown admitted that news of Lennon’s departure came as a surprise to him, and he said that it was difficult to see someone who had been an integral part of so much of the recent history leave their job.
“It was a sad day when I saw that he was leaving.
“We never want to see any manager go and what the manager’s given to this club over the last 20 years – he was a fantastic player at this club and a fantastic manager as well.
“He’s had two spells and there’s always going to be ups and downs, always going to be heartbreaks but I’m sure the manager will be feeling as bad as everybody else.
“I’m sure sitting in the house he’ll be disappointed because he would have thought that he could have turned it around. It was just one of these things that happens in football and we don’t want anyone to be losing their job.”
Lennon’s exit came after another disappointing result in a season that began with promise but saw hopes of a tenth consecutive league title evaporate, as well as European and domestic cup losses.
Asked if the players had to take on some of the blame for the manager’s decision, Brown wholeheartedly agreed.
“100% yes,” he said. “In that dressing room we’ve had a chat and there’s a lot on our shoulders.
“The gaffer puts the team out on the pitch and we have to make sure that we get the results. We’ve done that in the past but the results recently haven’t been good enough. That’s a lot on the lads.”
The midfielder said that he hoped Lennon would be remembered for his achievements as player and over two spells as manager, where he won domestic trebles among a host of silverware successes.
Brown said: “The manager is a legend of the club as a player and as a manager. He wants the best for this football club no matter what happens, whether he’s here or not. He’s always wishing us the best.
“When he wasn’t here the first time there were hard situations and he was always picking up the phone to the lads and making sure they were all right and doing their best.
“He was a fantastic servant to this football club and he gave everything that he could possibly give.”
Celtic have placed John Kennedy in charge on an interim basis and Brown, who all but ruled himself out of any coaching role in the short-term, believes the team need to rally around the coach and make the most of their remaining games, beginning with the match against Aberdeen this weekend.
“We’ve got to start winning games, beginning tomorrow,” he said. “Derek McInnes has always got them well organised so it’s going to be a hard game but we need to make sure we start playing good football, winning games and scoring goals.”