Celtic have crumbled under title pressure, says Lennon

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FILE PHOTO: Scottish Premiership - Rangers v Celtic

(Reuters) - Celtic boss Neil Lennon said the pressure of chasing a 10th consecutive league title may have been too much for his players to handle and that Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by St Mirren marked the lowest point of his managerial career.

Goals from Kristian Dennis and Ilkay Durmus fired St Mirren to their first victory at Celtic Park since 1990 and left Lennon's side 23 points behind league leaders Rangers, who have played two games more.

Celtic completed a quadruple treble in December by winning the 2019-20 Scottish Cup but Lennon, who is in his second spell as manager, has come under increasing scrutiny after falling well behind Rangers in the league.

"There has definitely been a disconnect between the team that ended last season and started this one," Lennon said. "It was dreadful. We deserved what we got. I would say this is the lowest point of the six years I have been manager here.

"This is a real test of adversity and you have to show strength. I want to show strength but I need some support and performances from players."

Lennon was at a loss to explain how to arrest Celtic's slump.

"Too many of the players have been insipid this season," Lennon added. "Whatever walk of life you are in you need to have a form of professional pride.

"Maybe the pressure of doing the 10 has been too much. Maybe they have just got tired of winning, playing in Scotland. That's a question you need to ask them.

"At this minute I think yes, they are (letting him down). It's difficult to turn it around. You are looking for motivation, ideas. I just think the mindset of some of the players has changed."

Celtic next visit Kilmarnock in the league on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)