By Noel Whelan

18th Dec, 2020 | 7:00pm

Exclusive: Top pundit drops shock Lennon sack verdict ahead of Celtic v Hearts

Neil Lennon must be sacked if Celtic fail to win Sunday’s Scottish Cup final against Hearts, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Aberdeen and Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has insisted there is no way the Northern Irish boss would be able to continue in his role if the Hoops were beaten by the Championship outfit at Hampden Park.

The Bhoys head into Sunday’s rescheduled final off the back of two successive wins over Lille and Kilmarnock after winning just two of their previous 12 games.

Lennon has come under heavy fire from some sections of the Parkhead support during the Hoops’ poor run of form but the 49-year-old has the chance to make it a fourth-successive domestic treble on Sunday.

However, Whelan has insisted there will be no coming back for the Celtic boss if he fails to bring another bit of silverware to Celtic Park.

Whelan told Football Insider: “If he loses against Hearts, who are in the second tier, he’s got to go, I’m sorry. If they lose that game, there’s a real problem at that club.

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“There’s no way they should be losing that game, it’s a cup final, it’s against Hearts, they’re in the Championship, Celtic are in the Premiership.

“If they lose that, there’s some real serious decisions to be made, and I would find it very difficult to get my head round if Neil Lennon’s still at that club if they lose that final.”

Lennon has taken charge of 80 matches during his second spell in charge of the Hoops, with 58 wins, 10 draws and 12 defeats under his belt.

He has picked up a total of four league titles and two Scottish Cups over both stints in the dugout at Parkhead.

In other news, return of barely seen Celtic star has blown Alex McLeish away.