“I would say the same about Martin O’Neill.”
Chris Sutton has called Charlie Nicholas “bitter” after the latter stopped short of naming either Neil Lennon or Martin O’Neill in the pantheon of Celtic managerial greats.
Lennon led Celtic to the quadruple-treble on Sunday with the Hoops beating Hearts in a dramatic Scottish Cup final shootout after a 3-3 draw at Hampden Park.
Lennon has now won 10 trophies over two managerial spells at Celtic Park, but writing in his column for the Express, Nicholas said he does not view the former Northern Ireland international in the same light as ‘true Celtic managerial greats Jock Stein and Brendan Rodgers’.
“Neil Lennon made history by completing the quadruple-treble but it doesn’t put him up there with true Celtic managerial greats Jock Stein and Brendan Rodgers,” wrote Nicholas, who won two league titles as a player with Celtic in 1981 and 1982.”
‘I never saw Martin as a true great’ – Nicholas on O’Neill
Nicholas also questioned O’Neill’s legacy by saying he never saw the former Ireland manager as a ‘true great’.
“But I would also say the same about Martin O’Neill,” added Nicholas.
“Martin signed some world-class players and also inherited a few, such as Henrik Larsson.
“He brought in big players and Celtic were paying them fortunes. Reaching the 2003 UEFA Cup final in Seville was fantastic but I never saw Martin as a true great.
“Lennon is a bit like that. I absolutely applaud his achievements in winning a treble as a player and a boss but, on the managerial front, his triumphs have come at a time when the title races weren’t overly competitive.
“In fact, if he had lost any of them he would have been out of a job. Lennon is not up there with the greatest in Jock Stein and I would go as far as to say he hasn’t delivered what Rodgers did either.
“There’s no denying Lennon has been a success and it is an extraordinary run that he has continued.
“I know it was a bit of a gift what he inherited from Rodgers but Lennon deserves credit for getting Celtic over the line. They now go into the history books and I congratulate him and his team.
Responding to Nicholas on Twitter, Sutton – who won eight trophies in a six-year spell at Celtic between 2000 and 2006 – said: “Charlie is sadly bitter.”
Charlie is sadly bitter… https://t.co/esuNn8HLog
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) December 22, 2020