Neil Lennon: Victim of a Century of Delusion.

Last updated : 12 November 2010 By Number Eight.

Neil Lennon is a prisoner of Celtic's history; he is the poster boy for Celtic's dark forces and the man the sinister element of the Celtic support can comfortably identify with; and have genuine expectations of, after all, they believe that Lennon, truly, is one of their own - but it doesn't end there.

We, as Rangers fans, have been unable to fully comprehend the conspiracy myth that is so ingrained on Celtic hearts, because it is certainly a myth, but it's not just the lower orders of the Celtic support that unendingly bleat about 'conspiracy': it is a part of the Celtic psyche. From the streets of Royston to the leafy lanes of Bearsden, the song remains the same: it's a conspiracy.

The extremist element in the Celtic support is vociferous in its grievances, but scratch below the surface of an educated Celtic man, and that same attitude lurks: it's a conspiracy.

On a recent train journey, a friend of mine listened in as two well-dressed and well-spoken gents, both Celtic men, chatted about their club. It didn't take long until the conversation turned to the world being against them. Both cited fathers and grandfathers who believed that Celtic had been discriminated against, and this mindset still prevails - and flourishes - today: it's a conspiracy.

Whatever view Lennon has of the world around him, he is imprisoned by Celtic's past, and there is an expectation that he should stand up to an 'establishment' that has supposedly had it in for Celtic since Adam and Eve were at primary school. This is a colossal burden to carry, but it has a beneficial side for a manager too: it's a convenient excuse for failure.

The more the Celtic manager rants, and the more he complains, the more unlikely he will be taken seriously by people with who have a soupçon of respect for their own intelligence. Increasingly, other than Celtic's many media sycophants, people look at the Celtic manager and wonder if he's up to a job that is a genuinely high-profile position, not just in football, but in Scotland.

Neil Lennon is in danger of being the grievance poodle of a century and more of Celtic conspiracy-delusion, and if he's not careful, it will ruin his managerial career before it has even started.

If Rangers and Celtic are still playing football in these parts a thousand years from now, the conspiracy psyche will still be a basic element of what it is to be a Celtic supporter. It won't be based on facts - it never was - but it will still be clung to with an iron grip, because if it is ever let go, the responsibility for Celtic's failings will have to be shouldered by Celtic Football Club.

Now tell me, how likely is that?