Thursday, October 29, 2020

Coronavirus: Celtic players are like caged animals, says Lennon

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 28 Mar 2020

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon says his players are like “caged animals” as they wait for the green light to return to training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Premiership has been suspended until further notice following the outbreak, with Celtic holding a 13-point lead over arch rivals Rangers at the summit.

Lennon admits some of his players might be struggling during the enforced absence from football and says the club are keeping a watchful eye on their mental health.

“They’re like caged animals,” he told BBC Sport. “These are young, fit men who’re used to an almost regimented way of living. Their routine is training and playing. All of that is gone. Some of them will be cooking for themselves for the first time in their lives.

“Mentally, the change can put a strain on them. They’re used to intensity and suddenly it’s not there. We’re very aware of the mental [health] side of this. We all need to keep our wellbeing in order.

“As long as I can get out and get some exercise for my own peace of mind then I’m fine. The silence is deafening when you go out for a walk. The place is deserted. We just have to ride it out as best we can. We’re all in the same boat.”

While understandably missing football, Lennon believes the break could be used as an opportunity for the game to find better ways of connecting with local communities when it returns.

“I’m really missing football,” he added. “I’m missing the players, the staff, the games, the colour, the noise, but it’s no bad thing to take a moment and appreciate what you’ve got.

“I think football will mean a lot more to a lot of people when it returns. What I’m seeing now is us going back to our roots, going back to community life with people looking out for each other and maybe we’d gone away from that.

“What’s happening is tragic but everybody is pulling together to try to get through it and that’s brilliant.”

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