By Noel Whelan

9th Jan, 2021 | 9:00am

Exclusive: Top pundit drops Lennon sack claim amid Desmond/Lawwell report

Neil Lennon has got to make sure Celtic dominate the Premiership until the end of the season to have any chance of staying in his job at Parkhead.

That is the view of former Leeds United and Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, believes the Northern Irish boss is still under “massive pressure” despite a recent upturn.

The Scottish Sun have reported that Celtic’s major shareholder Dermot Desmond and chairman Peter Lawwell have given Lennon their backing until the end of the season after watching the derby day defeat to Rangers.

The Hoops’ 1-0 loss ended a run of four consecutive wins for Lennon’s men after they had picked up just three victories in 12 games.

The Bhoys had also managed to solve their defensive problems as they kept four successive clean sheets before Callum McGregor’s own goal at Ibrox.

However, Whelan believes the pressure from the fans means the board are still under severe pressure and that Celtic need to reestablish themselves as the dominant force in Scotland if Lennon is to stay in his job.

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Asked if Lennon had until the end of the season to save his Parkhead career, Whelan told Football Insider: “Yes and no, I think maybe the pressure of the fans now might be something that maybe forces their hand at the end of the season anyway.

“Is there any point in sacking him now? No, because Rangers have won the league, in my opinion, so it’s not going to change anything. I think a decision needs to be made at the end of the year, end of the season.

“I do think he needs to, pretty much, dominate the Premiership with wins from now until the end of the season to give himself any chance of staying in the job.

“I just feel that, even when Rangers win the league, there’s going to be such a massive gap that fans are going to demand the change anyway. I think there’s real pressure still on him and the board to come to a decision.”

Celtic currently sit 19 points adrift of table-toppers Rangers, although the Hoops do still have three games in hand over their Glasgow rivals.

In other news: ‘Remarkable’ – Alex McLeish wowed by what he has just seen from Lennon at Celtic.