THE idea that the Celtic players might not be entirely behind manager Neil Lennon, and are subsequently not giving their all on the pitch, is anathema to Scott Brown. The Celtic captain refutes the suggestion out of hand.

Rather, Brown says that the Celtic squad are united in their determination to safeguard Lennon’s position by getting their season back on track and deliver the sort of success to the club that has become the norm over the past nine campaigns.

“Everyone’s playing for the manager,” Brown said.

“We need to do it for the manager because he has been fantastic. He’s had a great playing career here, he’s had great success the first time as manager and he’s had great success so far the second time.

“We need to keep making sure we tick these boxes, keep making history as well.

“It’s a fantastic bunch of lads here. But we need to start doing our talking on the field.

“I think we’re all together. We’re 100 per cent behind the manager, as well, and I think the fans are with us.”

That last assertion may be one area of Brown’s argument that is on shaky ground, with The Green Brigade’s protest calling for the removal of Lennon yesterday hardly suggesting that everyone in the Celtic family is currently signing from the same hymnsheet when it comes to their manager.

“I think everyone is welcome to their own opinion,” Brown said. “Speaking to a lot of the fans out and about, they’re all behind us.

“Those are the fans we need to keep impressing and keep performing for, keep going out there and working extremely hard for.

“Everyone’s got an opinion they can put on Twitter or put on banners. Social media now is extremely harmful to teams if you lose a couple of points.

“We’ve got to be bigger, got to be better and focus on ourselves. We don’t worry about what’s happening outside – we just work hard on the park.

“Celtic’s a big club. We expect success. We need to make sure that we do it on the park.

“Everyone wants to put us down just now. The lads are sticking together through it.

“There have been a lot of tough times, a lot of great times. We’re working to get those great times back extremely quickly.

"We’re all strong enough to deal with the criticism, which is just part and parcel of football.

"It’s not always going to be nice and plain sailing. There are going to be up and down. We just focus on ourselves.

“Our fans have been fantastic over the 14 years that I’ve been here now. I’m sure once we get them back [into the stadium] they’ll be supporting us.”

Amid the hullabaloo surrounding the manager’s position, it has rather been lost that Celtic are drinking in the Europa League last-chance saloon tonight in Prague as they look to avenge the comprehensive Celtic Park defeat to Sparta which has left their qualification hopes dangling by a very thin thread.

Leigh Griffiths will be missing with a minor knee problem, but Christopher Jullien could make a return to action after a back injury. Brown wants whichever Celtic players go out on the pitch tonight though to ensure that both pride and his side’s slim chances of progression in the competition are maintained.

“We need a good performance and three points as well,” he said.

“It’s important that we stay together, work hard – and get the result we’re looking for.

“We need to go over there and make sure we get a win to try and keep our hopes alive in this group.

“It’s going to be extremely hard because they played really well here. We need to make sure go over there and focus on our game and perform really well.

‘We need to make sure that we keep proving the doubters wrong. We need to keep coming back. We’ve done it before, had nine fantastic seasons and we’re in a Scottish Cup Final, as well.

“We just need to make sure that now we start focusing on the Europa League as well – and we start winning games.”