Tuesday 28 January 2020

Lennon hits out at the treatment of Levein

Craig Levein. Photo: Getty Images
Craig Levein. Photo: Getty Images

Celtic boss Neil Lennon says the demise of Craig Levein has left "a bitter taste" in his mouth.

The Gorgie club announced that Levein had been relieved of his duties as manager the day after Hearts' 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone on Wednesday night, which left them level with Premiership bottom side St Mirren on points.

Disgruntled away fans had chanted against the former Hearts defender at McDiarmid Park while a 'Levein out' message was subsequently scrawled on the Foundation Plaza outside the main stand at Tynecastle.

When asked about Levein's departure, Lennon remembered the 'Hang Neil Lennon' graffiti sighted in Edinburgh a year ago following a derby match when he was manager of Hibernian.

"I am very sorry for Craig," said the Northern Irishman, who revealed skipper Scott Brown is struggling with a thigh strain ahead of the Betfred Cup semi-final against Hibs at Hampden Park today (BT Sport, 5.0). "I know how much he put into the job.

"Obviously the results weren't what were probably expected for Hearts. He was a good football guy and gave everything for the club over the last 20 years.

"It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth the way some people have reacted or treated him in the past few weeks. The graffiti. They like a bit of graffiti over there, I know that from my own experience.

"For a guy who for the majority of his football career and life has been associated with Hearts, I think he deserves better. But he has kept his dignity and I wish him well for the future, whatever he decides to do."

Hoops midfielder Brown picked up a thigh injury in the 2-0 home win over St Mirren on Wednesday night.

"Browny is struggling," said Lennon, who also confirmed that striker Vakoun Bayo will see a specialist on Monday about a knee problem.

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