Celtic manager Neil Lennon addresses mental health issues and says he is feeling "great" despite "hurt" over protests
What Neil Lennon has endured lately could drive any person to the slough of despond.
The added concern over the welfare of the Celtic manager surrounds the mental health issues he has been open about having to deal with across his adult life.
Yet, the 49-year-old maintains his health remains “great” even as he admits to “hurt” over the abusive demands for his removal by fan that led to ugly scenes outside Celtic Park following Sunday’s League Cup loss at home to Ross County.
Lennon is spending every waking hour turning over how he can transform the fortunes of a team that have hit the buffers with only two wins in 10 games, in a season dominated by the pursuit of an historic tenth title. That has meant long days at the club’s training ground but not sleepless nights, or the onset of a depressive episode, which he sees no signs of.
“I’m great,” said Lennon, who has been preparing his team for their Europa League assignment against AC Milan in the San Siro. “It’s been unbelievable the amount of support I’ve had, from people at the club, from supporters, from other managers too. I’ve had great support from the players as well. The people at the LMA [League Managers’ Association] who deal with this on a daily basis have also been in touch. It’s all been very touching and encouraging. In my own mind, and my own physical well-being and mental well-being, I’m healthy as anything. And motivated at the minute to turn this around. I’ve got coping mechanisms now. I know how to deal with it.
“I’ve had it [depression] in varying times and spells in my life and my career. And there are no warning signs at the minute at all. I’m living healthy, living good, quietly. I’m conscientious with my work too and trying to cover all the bases the best we can. I’m ticking all the right boxes and trying to motivate the players. It’s a results-driven business and results haven’t been what they should be for the quality of players we have. You have to bear that responsibility. You have to dig deep and ride it out and come again. And you need to enjoy it all, then good times and the bad times.”
The worst of times rolled round with the League Cup exit that brought to an end a Scottish record 35 straight cup-ties and provoked a thuggish element to turn on Lennon and the club, despite all he has given to it.
“It hurts and it’s disappointing. I mean, from my own point of view, nothing at this time in my life means more than success for the club and the supporters,” he said. “That’s been my remit for the last 20 years. Myself, John Kennedy who has come through the ranks and loves the club as well, Woodsy [Stevie Woods] has been here a long time, Gav [Strachan] has just come in, but his father was the manager. So we are all indoctrinated into success for the club and the players are as well. I can empathise with the supporters. I can understand their frustrations at the minute. We do everything we can to turn things around very quickly, but it hurt a little bit, there’s no question.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.