NEIL Lennon slammed Celtic’s slipshod defending in wake of their 3-3 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie this afternoon and admitted some of his “fragile” players are suffering from a crisis of confidence.

The Scottish champions fought back from being 1-0 and 2-1 down and led 3-2 at the end of the 90 minutes – but they conceded a Lewis Ferguson penalty in injury-time.

The Parkhead club, who had been beaten 2-0 by Rangers at home in their last league match eight days ago, handed their city rivals the chance to pull six points clear of them at the top of the Premiership table.

Lennon insisted Celtic, bidding to make history this season by completing 10-In-A-Row, are still very much in the title race and backed them to play their way out of their “dip in form”.

However, the Northern Irishman, whose team have a game in hand, admitted his players have to stop conceding such soft goals and vowed to try and bolster their self-belief.

“I’m disappointed not to come away with all three points,” he said. “When you are a manager and you score three goals away from home you think you are going to win the game.

“We need to tidy up defensively. The first goal we gave away was very sloppy. That is eight goals in three games. It is not good enough.

“There is a little bit of fragility with a few of them. They aren’t playing with a major amount of confidence. I will work away with them and just give them the belief that it turns.

“Listen, I have been a player myself. They all have little dips in form, if you want to call it that. In the main I was satisfied, particularly with the second-half performance. But obviously defensively we have to do a lot better. There is no question of that.”

Lennon has been missing a raft of key players since play resumed after the international break this month due to Covid-19 and injuries – but he is hopeful Nir Bitton and Odsonne Edouard will return to training at Lennoxtown today.

He is adamant his team can still do well in the Europa League and the Premiership in the 2020/21 campaign if they tighten up at the back.

“I think the players have had a tough week,” he said. “They could have played better. But we will improve. I am confident of that. And we will get players back. There is a long, long way to go.

“But we have to tidy up defensively. We are making too many individual mistakes and collective mistakes. That is not on the goalkeeper. I thought (Scott) Bainy was very, very good today.

“If we can play well and win in Lille it opens the group up again and then we have a semi final (against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup on Sunday) next week. The motivations are there and the deluge of games coming I think they could play their way into form and that’s the message we will be sending.

“We just need to get out of this sticky spell we are in at the minute. All teams have them and hopefully this is ours for the season and we will kick on from this.”