Five very big games for Lenny
I mentioned it before but these last few results have only rammed home the fact it cant be an easy job at all being our manager.
4 wins in as many games but that has no chance of calming the masses, bringing non stop opinions from every Tim, Dick and Harry about whats wrong with the team.
Has being a special season brought more angst than usual towards the dugout ?
Its hard to say but a perusal of articles and comments this time last year show many of the questions asked now are not new, not one bit.
There was plenty debate surrounding the signing policy which isnt going away until the policy does, however it must be said this was hugely exasperated due to our beloved left backs departure swelling the coffers.
But articles such as ‘Groundhog Day’ ‘Whats the plan’ and particularly ‘Three Points,End of’ show that we in general felt the same way then as now, unable to discern a plan.
Perhaps worryingly, we were banging them in back then. 3 against Cluj at home, 5 against Motherwell and Thistle, which might have served to hold back some criticisms.
Somewhat eerily we faced Hibs end of September last year also and only managed a draw, and big Morris Bauer even managed an assist in that game!
The referee (Clancy) took centre stage but comments after the game show almost word for word what we have discussed in recent weeks.
“ On Saturday, Hibs plan was to bottle up the midfield with a pressing game and a series of fouls. The ref allowed them to get away with this by strangely keeping his cards in his pocket for the early part of the game. With Christie, inexplicably, selected to play wide, this left Edouard to carry the striking position unaided. He was rarely in the game at this point.”
The above was a common feature of our play, and as shown easy to deal with. It was switching away from this formation that won us the league, one reason why we are all galled to see it return.
The intense speculation that we are about to lose our star striker might be true this time after all but that has been no reason not to get partnerships going up top.
While I admit it must be hard to be our manager, Lenny had a fantastic head start in that respect, having the perfect background and temperament. Then in having pulled on the shirt he cemented his credentials to be given a shot, which he excelled at thus got the position.
Then we did see a manager that learned on the job and not being one for self praise it was notable when asked after beating Barca what he had learnt he declared that he was able to manage at this level. Nights like that lead to him being tipped as one of Britain’s brightest young managers at the time.
While theres a lot of water under the bridge since that night, everything that has happened footballing wise is there to be learnt from. What doesnt kill you makes you stronger, you live and you learn, tomorrow is another day are all simple cliches on the one hand, but in the cutthroat business of football management the person who fails to heed their lessons is doomed to failure.
Great managers changed with the times.
The hairdryer treatment just wont cut it in the modern game where the arm around the shoulder friendly but technical manager leads the way.
The game has never stood still, fans cant as the real world keeps on moving, players have changed as mentioned, so its a simple fact that those in the dugout must also.
And they have.
We just seen very much the modern day manager up close in Brendan. Learning Spanish for better and more personal communication was deemed necessary, personalised diet, training methods that the current staff had not seen before.
His relationship with his players and letting them know through training plus in crystal clear terms what he wanted seemed the key looking from the outside in.
Neil once was the newcomer earning praise as mentioned. He earned it properly.
What this Lenny needs to do is get back to learning.
His players aren’t motivated or the system isnt working, its that simple.
Having our superior players produce a moment of magic is not a tactic but its something we have seen much to often, perhaps thats actually the player going sod it I will try something why not.
Every single one of us would love nothing more than Neil to walk up and collect that tenth league trophy, I know that. But his chosen profession entails a huge amount of onsite learning and experience gathering, to be used later. Its now he needs to use what he knows to the fullest extent to begin shaping a formation that brings multiple goals first and foremost.
The window is a distraction yes, but life aint waiting for it to close as another Hibs draw like this time last year would just hand initiative over after their blink.
Following Brendan was never going to be easy for anyone, especially players who were being elevated to another level with these new techniques, but we as a club are in not a position to allow slackness in a historic year. This has been compounded by a loss of the twelfth man I believe, but again we cant feel sorry for ourselves on that front given its an absolute do or die season.
We as a fanbase dont even want to consider the above, we just want a team marching towards the ten with intent.
And its that very intent that needs to be kindled right here right now starting with a better result than we had this time last year. Neil needs to use everything he has learnt so far until this point to drag his team forward and come through what is a defining sequence of games with not only his job but our title aspirations on the line.
Thats the mini block of five games standing in front of us right now, which would scare some but we are the famous Glasgow Celtic and such a run is just a way of life for a big club.
Each does to a certain extent but this particular block of games will have a very decisive impact on the season on my humble opinion in that without the results and performances to match our manager wont have the fans faith in retaining the title and the pressure will only grow on Neils shoulders.
However the opposite is also true in that these five games offer a chance to slam the doubters, strike fear into the rivals, and get the train on the track once and for all.
We will never have a better opportunity to stake a big claim for the ten, simultaneously bringing the support back onside with a feel good factor than if we go out and put on some statement performances.
These are as big a five games Neil has faced as a manager I dare say.
The man that loves a challenge has a huge one in front of him, but this is exactly what he signed up for.
Its time for the real Neil Lennon to please stand up.
The above by Mahe. firstname.lastname@example.org