'I feared for Neil' - Alan Stubbs claims ugly Celtic protests may have strengthened Lennon's position at Parkhead

Alan Stubbs has argued that the protests that broke out at Parkhead in the wake of Celtic's defeat to Ross County on Sunday may have inadvertently strengthened the board’s support for manager Neil Lennon.

Neil Lennon, Manager of Celtic. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Neil Lennon, Manager of Celtic. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The Hoops boss has come under heightened scrutiny in recent weeks after a poor run of results that has left his team out of the Europa League and 11 points adrift of Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Last weekend’s 2-0 loss against a struggling County side lit the fuse on rising tensions among some sections of the Bhoys’ fanbase, and a number of supporters chose to gather outside Parkhead after the final whistle to call for Lennon’s sacking.

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Scenes grew increasingly ugly, however, with two police officers injured during altercations with fans.

But rather than having the desired effect of convincing Celtic chiefs to swing the axe on Lennon, Stubbs has argued that the protests may have actually strengthened the Northern Irishman’s position at the club – with the board unwilling to give the impression that they are bowing to such unseemly pressure.

Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show, Stubbs said: “I think in a way it’s maybe made the board think that they can’t let that dictate what they want to do.

"I feared for Neil after the game. I really don’t want to see anybody get the sack, I must stress that, but I thought that with the manner of the defeat, it would have been very difficult for him to have stayed in the job.

"I’d love him to turn it around, I really would, but I just think it’s maybe gone too far now.”

Lennon is set to take charge for his side’s trip to face AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday evening, with the Hoops already knowing that they are incapable of getting out of their group.

After that, the Bhoys face St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday afternoon.

Callum Davidson’s side are unbeaten in 10 games across all competitions – aside from a penalty shootout defeat to Dundee United in the League Cup earlier this month.

In fact, the Saints’ last loss came against Celtic in a 2-0 away win for Lennon’s men back at the beginning of October.