EVIDENCE that Neil Lennon is a calmer and more considered character now than he was during his first stint as manager of Celtic hasn’t exactly been in short supply in the year that he has been back at Parkhead.

But Lennon’s immediate response to the dire performance and excruciating defeat to Copenhagen in the second leg of the Europa League last 32 double header in Glasgow on Thursday night underlined just how much he has matured in the past decade.

The Northern Irishman’s team had squandered an excellent chance to join their Glasgow rivals Rangers in the last 16 of the tournament with, to put it mildly, some slipshod defending.

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Their Danish opponents were, despite being well organised by the wily and seasoned Stale Solbakken, limited to say the least. But they were gifted three criminally soft goals.

Did Lennon, though, castigate Jozo Simunovic for the underhit passback which teed up the visitors’ opener afterwards? Did he savage Kristoffer Ajer for getting caught out of position at their second?

No, he simply admitted his men had been far from their best, lauded their previous efforts for him and pledged to lift their spirits before the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final against St Johnstone on Sunday.

“These players have been absolutely brilliant for me and I’m not going to sit here and criticise them for mistakes they made tonight,” he said. “I’m not going to throw anyone under a bus, we win as a team and lose as a team.

“I’ve not spoken to Jozo. I have a duty of care to him as he has come back from a long term injury. If I need to pick him up, I will. That’s my job. He’s made a mistake, he’s held his hands up and we move on.”

The temptation to lambast his expensively-paid charges publicly must have been considerable. What a wretched way it was for Celtic to end a European campaign that has seen them scale such giddy heights. They failed to perform as they did against Cluj, Lazio and Rennes on their way to topping their group. They let Lennon down and let him down badly.

Privately, he may well have had some far from complimentary remarks to make following the final whistle. In the confines of the dressing room, he might well have given a few individuals an earful. But he certainly didn’t hang anyone out to dry when he addressed the media.

His refusal to do so may well have helped Celtic to come through a tricky cup tie in difficult conditions at McDiarmid Park yesterday. Would Christopher Jullien, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths have fought so tenaciously and ground out a gutsy 1-0 win if the man looking on from the dugout had slaughtered them a few days earlier? Criticising his charges could have sewn the seeds of discord in his squad and led to issues arising.

Steven Gerrard should seriously consider taking the same measured approach as Lennon after defeats as he continues to learn his trade.

There are many reasons for Rangers’ failure to win silverware once again in the 2019/20 campaign. Not least a lack of strength in depth. The absences of James Tavernier, Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Jack have been keenly felt. The players who have come in to replace them have not been of a sufficient standard and that has shown in results. It is not an issue his opposite number has to contend with across the city.

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But repeatedly deriding his charges’ in his post-match interviews after draws and defeats has perhaps not helped matters. He didn’t spare them once again after the 1-0 defeat to Hearts in the Scottish Cup at Tynecastle on Saturday evening. “I am desperate to win here,” he said. “But looking from the side today I didn't get the impression that the feeling among my players was the same.”

Gerrard had a definite point. He had talented and experienced players on the park who should have been able to win and win comfortably against the bottom-placed side in the Ladbrokes Premiership and book their place in the Scottish Cup semi-final. Still, there is a time and place to berate and chastise them and that is not in front of television cameras and radio microphones.

Sam Allardyce, the former Bolton, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham, Everton and England manager, questioned the wisdom of his countryman's honesty and forthrightness, of showing his personal disappointment so openly especially, when he spoke on beIN Sports yesterday.

“Privately, when you’re in your own space you can,” he said. “But publicly you can’t. You’ve got to show your players you’re right behind them. He’s put his own position in doubt.”

Gerrard showed once again in Portugal, when Rangers defeated Braga with one of the finest displays ever produced by a Scottish team overseas, that he has many impressive qualities. He has been a manager for less than two years and will improve further as he gains invaluable experience. Tempering his frustration at the inevitable setbacks he encounters would be a positive step.

Lennon made errors aplenty on and off the park when he first donned a tracksuit. League success eluded him in his debut campaign. The less said about his continental exploits the better. He was a combative and combustible presence on the touchline. If he can learn so can Gerrard.