Rangers legend Ally McCoist says Neil Lennon walking away from Celtic on Wednesday morning ‘has not come as a major surprise at all’ amid the Hoops’ ‘one disaster after another’ season.
Lennon departed Parkhead with Celtic a massive 18 points behind Old Firm rivals Rangers in the Premiership table, with Steven Gerrard set to win Gers their first top-flight title since 2010/11.
Not only is losing their Premiership crown to their fiercest rivals a tough pill to swallow, but Celtic have also seen their ten in a row bid collapse in remarkable fashion.
It’s been a largely negative season at Parkhead, with Celtic being knocked out the Champions League in the second qualifying round, finishing last in their Europa League group, losing in the Scottish league Cup second round, and also never seriously putting up a challenge for the Premiership title as Gers ran away in first place.
And this combination of failures – after nine years of constant success for the Bhoys – means Lennon’s departure is not a particular shock.
Speaking on Wednesday’s talkSPORT Breakfast as soon as Lennon’s exit was announced, McCoist said: “The first thing I say is, hopefully he can get some sanity back in his life and go and enjoy himself and relax with his family for a period.
“That’s the one thing, looking at Neil, that he needs and wants – so that’s the most important thing.
“He needs to spend some time away from the pressure that is being an Old Firm manager.
“But in terms of the decision itself, I’m not overly surprised at all. I think the way the season has gone for Celtic this year has effectively been one disaster after another, and there are a lot of people responsible for that.”
Asked who has been responsible for this disastrous campaign, Ally said people all throughout the club should shoulder some of the blame.
And the Ibrox hero accused some people at Celtic of ‘arrogance’ over their ten in a row bid – though he made clear Lennon has never shown such haughtiness.
“Neil, being the manager, is obviously one of them,” continued Ally, “but the people above him as well, and indeed the players have to shoulder a lot of the responsibility.
“It was a massive, massive year for them, and it looks like clearly the league has gone – and the league was the big one.
“Everybody at Celtic wanted the magical figure of ten, but for some time now it hasn’t looked like that is going to be the case.
“I’ve always felt there’s been – not from Neil, I may add – an element of arrogance coming from Celtic; they thought it was just a formality to win ten in a row.
“And clearly that hasn’t been the case, and supporters are very, very angry – and it’s cost Neil his job.
“As I said, the news this morning has not come as a major surprise at all.”
Former Celtic striker Tony Cascarino also joined the talkSPORT Breakfast to react to Lennon’s resignation, saying the Hoops have ‘melted under the pressure’ with Rangers once again serious contenders for silverware.
“I know Neil and met him and I think his legacy at that football club is why he’s walked away,” said Casc.
“With what he’s achieved, I think he sees it’s not feasible for him to be the best man in the job to challenge Rangers as the situation stands today.
“It’s in your blood; and when you are getting criticised and that football club is in your blood, and you go through a really horrendous time, it hurts.
“But if you look back all the years, even to when Rangers were relegated, they’ve gradually bridged that gap and more pressure has come on Celtic.
“Celtic have come under pressure, and they’ve melted – and I think there are too many players who think the future is better elsewhere than at Celtic and want to get away.
“If you ask Neil afterwards – in three months’ time – he will probably tell you there were problems in every direction.”
Casc also claimed he never had a tougher time at any club in his playing career than Celtic – especially when things were going wrong.
“If I take the toughest clubs I’ve played for, I would select Millwall, Chelsea and Marseille,” he finished.
“But I would put at the very top of the list, if things were going wrong – Celtic.
“Because it comes from everywhere, and it’s in your daily life.
“The fans are obviously very, very angry about the challenge of Rangers, and nearly everything has come from Rangers this year; whether it’s been in the Europa League, whether it’s their comeback last week… it’s manifested into what it has become today.”