Neil Lennon has vowed to battle on as Celtic manager despite another collapse in snowbound Livingston.
A 2-2 draw in the Tony Macaroni Arena made it four league games without a win for the first time since Kenny Dalglish was in interim charge 20 years ago.
It made for another miserable 24 hours for the Parkhead boss, who had also come under fire from John Swinney on Wednesday morning – the Scottish Deputy First Minister labelling his comments regarding the Dubai controversy from Monday’s incendiary press conference as ‘appalling’.
Neil Lennon has vowed to battle on as Celtic manager despite another collapse in Livingston
A draw made it four league games without a win for Celtic the first time in 20 years
To add to the sense of calamity, club captain Scott Brown was red carded five minutes after taking to the pitch as late sub for raising his hands to Livvy’s Jaze Kubia.
With just three points – and no wins – from four games in 2021, the Scottish champions are now 20 points behind arch rivals Rangers with hopes of ten-in-a-row gone.
Despite growing calls from fans for his removal, a defiant Lennon said: ‘I won’t walk away, absolutely not. I’ve put too much into this. Too much of my life. And a month ago we won the Treble.
‘We’ve lost two games in the league. Europe wasn’t good enough and we’re out of the League Cup. But we’re human beings and we haven’t played well for whatever reason.
Club captain Scott Brown was red carded five minutes after taking to the pitch as a substitute
‘We can analyse it to death. Maybe no fans has had an adverse effect, I don’t know. But they haven’t reached the levels of last season by any stretch of imagination. I haven’t changed my procedures, my philosophy hasn’t changed but for some reason too many haven’t reached anywhere near their levels.
‘If the club have to make a decision then they have to make a decision. You’re asking the wrong guy about my position.
‘I’m fed up answering it really. Everyone is interested in my job. You keep asking if I’m going to be here. I will be until I’m told otherwise.’
Prior to kick-off, Lennon was still dealing with the fallout from Dubai. Speaking on Monday, he had accused the Scottish Government of holding Celtic ‘to a far higher standard than any other club’, before adding: ‘There seems to be some sort of agenda being driven here.’
A strike from Jay Emmanuel Thomas (left) extended Livingston’s unbeaten run to ten games
Having already been critical of Celtic’s decision to go ahead with the trip, Swinney was equally scathing over Lennon’s remarks.
The Deputy First Minister told BBC Radio Scotland: ‘I am at a loss for words, frankly.
‘I said a few weeks ago that I thought it was a really bad idea for Celtic to go to Dubai for this trip. I didn’t think it was a particularly great signal.
‘And I have no ill will towards Neil Lennon whatsoever but I think his comments in this respect have been absolutely appalling.’
When asked about the row before the match, Lennon said: ‘That’s his (Swinney) opinion. It’s his opinion, that’s the end of it.
Lennon had also come under fire beforehand for his comments on the Dubai controversy
‘I covered everything I wanted to say. I said everything I wanted to say on Monday. You keep biting at me. You’ve got enough mileage out of it that last couple of days.
‘Everything about my press conferences was realistic. Some people don’t like it – fine.’
Despite fighting back from the loss of an early goal to lead at half-time through strikes from Mohamed Elyounoussi and Nir Bitton, a strike from Jay Emmanuel Thomas extended Livingston’s unbeaten run to ten games ahead of Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final against St Mirren.
A late throw of the dice backfired when veteran captain and substitute Brown lasted less than five minutes before being red carded for raising his hands to Kabia.
Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney labelled Lennon’s comments on Monday appalling
‘It’s disappointing,’ said Lennon. ‘He should know better. It was totally unnecessary. I’ll need to see it again to have an opinion but I’m told it’s a red. Ill discipline has cost us.’
Striker Odsonne Edouard missed the game with a knee injury but should be fit for Hamilton next midweek.
Livingston boss David Martindale praised his fringe players, insisting they could have snatched all three points as Celtic clung on with ten men.
‘I’m delighted for the boys but frustrated because we could have taken three points,’ he said.
‘I thought there was a stonewall penalty late in the second half which was missed but you do miss things.’
Striker Odsonne Edouard missed the game with a knee injury but should be fit for Hamilton