Noel Whelan has defended Neil Lennon and claimed ‘D’ grade Celtic players are solely to blame for the recent poor run of form at Parkhead.

The former Leeds and Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has blasted the “attitude” of the Hoops’ squad and stated they are letting both their manager and the club down.

As quoted by Sky Sports, Lennon made the surprise confession that there “needs to be a culture change within the club” after their disappointing 4-1 Europa League defeat to Sparta Prague.

The Bhoys, who have won nine league titles in a row and are hunting for their fourth successive domestic treble, sit bottom of their European group after a draw and two defeats.

They are also currently nine points behind Rangers in the Premiership table with two games in hand.

Whelan has suggested that the Celtic players are just going through the motions this season and has insisted they need to take the blame instead of Lennon.

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Whelan told Football Insider: Well maybe they’ve got complacent, maybe that’s what he means, maybe they’re thinking they can just turn up and win games – you can’t.

“You’ve still got to have the basics right: work hard, play for each other, it does come down to the attitude and, at the minute, it seems like they haven’t got the right attitude.

“Just because you’ve won nine on the bounce, it does not give you the right just turn up at a football ground and you’re going to win a football match.

“At the minute they’re going through a really, really hard lesson – players, mental, coaches – and I’m sure Neil Lennon is learning a lot about certain players right now. It‘s about them bringing their A-game, and at the minute they’re in Cs and Ds which is not good enough for a club of Celtic’s stature and size.

“Neil Lennon, if he had hair he’d be pulling out. At the minute, you can’t look at the manager, he’s choosing the strongest side out there, but their attitude and not doing their jobs is letting the club down, it’s letting Neil Lennon down.

“He’s taking blame, when it shouldn’t be him taking the blame. He’s only taking the blame because he’s the manager and feels as though he has to. The players have got to take responsibility for that terrible form and performances, as simple as that.”

In other Celtic news: ‘Disgusting’ – Hoops told to rip up contract of senior star.