NEIL Lennon last night admitted he was left perplexed by free-scoring Celtic’s failure to net in the 1-0 defeat to their bottom-placed Premiership rivals Ross County – after watching his men squander numerous “gilt-edged” chances.
Odsonne Edouard, David Turnbull and Ryan Christie, who have all been in exceptional form up front this season, all failed to capitalise on opportunities in the final third during the 90 mnutes at the Global Energy Stadium.
The quadruple treble winners paid the price for their lack of ruthlessness in attack when Jordan White headed home at a Harry Paton free-kick in the 71st minute.
“I think our decision making has been poor this year,” said Lennon. “The quality of chances we created was pleasing. As a manager you want your team to create chances. And they were gilt-edged chances. For some reason, we didn’t take them tonight. We should have been out of sight at half-time.
“Odsonne missed a sitter, their keeper had a couple of great saves, we had a chance with a header. It wasn’t as if we weren’t creating chances. The ball has been in our box twice in the second-half and we conceded. There is a softness about us this season.
“As a manager, what can I say. They are easy chances. One for Odsonne, another for Ryan. But it’s not about criticising individuals, it’s the team, it’s the coaching staff. It’s a source of real frustration for everyone.
“That encapsualted the season tonight. We shouldn’t be losing to the bottom team. We shouldn’t be losing the manner of goal we lost again tonight. It’s happened a few times. We’ve had a run of games and then this happens.
“There are no excuses. It’s not Covid, it’s not not having certain players. We’ve had a couple of injuries here and there, but in the main we should have been more comfortable tonight and at other times.
“There have been times we’ve been good – but we revert back to playing tippy tappy football at times.
“I’m sure we’ll get heavily criticised. Whether it’s right or wrong after this performance, it doesn’t matter. We just need to deal with it at the minute.”
Celtic’s failure to defend a set piece properly once again – they have lost numerous goals from corners and free-kicks in the 2020/21 campaign – also infuriated Lennon.
“I can’t do it for them,” he said. “It wasn’t a problem for us last season, but it has been a real problem for us this season with more or less the same personnel.
“You have to go and head the ball, you want to block runners. I don’t see us getting any free headers in the opposition box, but I have seen it plenty of times for us. It s not good enough.
“We were zonal. (Diego) Laxalt has got a job to do on the block, but it is just too easy. There were plenty there. (Kristoffer) Ajer was there, (Scott Brown) Broony was there. We have got enough players around to stop it and we haven’t. It’s not good.”
Meanwhile, Lennon revealed that left back Greg Taylor, who was replaced by Diego Laxalt in the ninth minute, had suffered a thigh strain early in the game.
He said: “Greg felt his thigh in the first action of the game when he has passed t back to Kris Ajer. He was obviously able to run on with it, but obviously he has pulled up very quickly after that. Again it is a strange one.”