Neil Lennon frets over stuttering Celtic title bid

Celtic manager Neil Lennon
Celtic have slipped 10 points behind SPL leaders Rangers

Deflated Neil Lennon was left pondering his next move as Celtic manager following his team's 2-0 Scottish Premier league defeat at Hearts.

"I've got a lot of thinking to do. Do I change the system, do I change the personnel?" pondered Lennon, whose team lag leaders Rangers by 10 points.

"We're not finding consistency. We lost four games the whole of last season, we have lost three this season already.

"I know it is not good enough and I've got to get things right very quickly."

Celtic had a few first-half chances, most notably when striker Mohamed Bangura's close-range header was turned expertly round the post by Jamie MacDonald.

And Kris Commons twice cracked shots at goal that MacDonald was equal to.

Interview - Celtic manger Neil Lennon

The traffic, though, was not one way. Fraser Forster made a good save from a Ryan Stevenson header early in the match and then brilliantly clawed away Jamie Hamill's free-kick.

But in the second half, Hearts looked the hungrier after a brief spell of Celtic pressure.

Rudi Skacel slammed a left-footed opener in 58 minutes, six minutes before Kris Commons was sent off for a lunge at Adrian Mrowiec then, with Celtic pushing for an equaliser, Hearts added a second from the combined skills of David Templeton and scorer Ryan Stevenson.

"We were in control of the game when Hearts scored," said Lennon.

"We missed simple clear-cut chances in the first half and away from home you can't afford to do that.

"We lost the goal and then the discipline and I cannot accept that either.

A minder keeps an eye on Celtic boss Neil Lennon at Tynecastle
A minder keeps an eye on Celtic boss Neil Lennon at Tynecastle

"When you are a goal down away from home with 10 men it leaves you open to a second goal, which is what happened.

"It [the gap between Celtic and leaders Rangers] is redeemable but I am not going to pull the wool over anybody's eyes, we can't afford to lose games."

The Celtic boss was upset at the foolishness of his midfielder Commons, back in the team after an absence, for his over-the-ball challenge on Mrowiec.

Asked if he thought it was the correct decision, Lennon said: "I believe so, I didn't get a good look at it.

"[Referee] Craig [Thomson] is right on top of it and it's very disappointing. It's not like him [Commons] but I can't afford to lose players in big moments in games.

"He is going to be suspended again for one to three games. He has apologised but it is not good enough.

"He let himself down and let us down so he will be dealt with accordingly in-house."

Lennon maintained that his greatest frustration was not with Commons' tackle but with his team's standard of play and finishing in the opposition half.

"I am disappointed with our play in the final third today," he added.

"We had enough possession and chances to win the game. That to me is the most disappointing thing about today."

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