Lennon has it all to play for: Hartson

01 April 2010 06:56
John Hartson knows what it means to play for the Hoops and says Neil Lennon knows what to do to improve standards John Hartson considers the Celtic manager's job as Neil Lennon's to lose now that he has made a winning start to his period in charge. The Welshman, who is still recovering from cancer, said: "I think it's Neil's job to lose now. It didn't work out for Tony although I thought it was a match made in heaven, I thought he was perfect for the job. But if a manager comes in and settles things down and starts winning big football matches and trophies then it is his to lose. Players can only get experience by playing and it's the same with a manager. How is Neil going to get experience if he is not given a chance? I know people will say that it is a massive club but he knows the club, he played there for seven years and under two great managers. Mark Hughes took over the Welsh national team when he was 37. That was his first job. Look at what he has done since with Blackburn and Manchester City and he is quite sought after. So at the end of the day, the only way you get experience is by being given the chance." His part-time media work allows Hartson to see a lot of football and he believes the recent loses suffered by Celtic and Rangers shows that standards have dropped. Celtic lost 4-0 to St Mirren, their biggest loss to the Buddies in 51 years and St Johnstone's 4-1 win over Rangers represented the Saints' biggest win over the Ibrox side. Hartson knows what he is talking about as he played under Martin O'Neill at Parkhead between 2001 and 2005 and alongside top players like Stiliyan Petrov, Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton. Hartson said: "I hate to harp on about when I played and this, that and the other but I do feel that the standards have dropped. That's my opinion and people may differ from that but the proof is there. Rangers going down 4-1 to St Johnstone has never been heard of. Celtic losing 4-0 to St Mirren was arguably one of the worst results in their history. You could say that about Rangers (against St Johnstone) as well but one thing that you could say about that game is that Rangers might have taken their foot off the gas a bit because they could afford to lose five out of their last seven games or whatever it is and still win the league. Whether the Rangers players got sloppy last night I don't know. But in Celtic's case they just lost too many games and dropped far too many points. Not to be challenging at this stage and to have gone out of the League Cup and to have gone out of Europe so early, I'm sure Tony half-expected the call when it came. You can't afford to lose that many games."