FOR those there to witness it, the look on Neil Lennon’s face said it all. For those outside of Celtic Park on Sunday though, he has now outlined just how their behaviour towards him made him feel.

The Celtic manager performed his post-match press duties after the defeat to Ross County with the look of a man with the weight of the world upon his shoulders, wincing as the barbs from the protesters outside pierced his ears.

Lennon though isn’t looking for sympathy. Indeed, it is he who has empathy for the feelings of the Celtic fans as they endure perhaps their rockiest spell of results in recent times after years of unparalleled success.

He cannot deny though that the chants requesting his removal as manager – which were not so cordially phrased – cut deep.

“It hurts and it’s disappointing,” Lennon said. “I mean, from my own point of view, nothing at this time in my life means more than success for the club and the supporters.

“That’s been my remit for the last 20 years. Myself, John Kennedy who has come through the ranks and loves the club as well, Woodsy [Stevie Woods] has been here a long time, Gav [Strachan] has just come in, but his father was the manager.

“So we are all indoctrinated into success for the club and the players are as well.

“I can empathise with the supporters. I can understand their frustrations at the minute.

“We do everything we can to turn things around very quickly, but it hurt a little bit, there’s no question.”

And it wasn’t just Lennon who was affected by the anger displayed on The Celtic Way, the players were taken aback by the scenes of violence that greeted them on their way out of the stadium too. Scenes which, to Lennon, were counterproductive to the club’s cause.

“I think just with the fervour and the anxiety going into the season and what it means to everyone at the club and, particularly, the supporters, I can understand some of the actions,” he said.

“But it doesn’t serve any good to the players and my backroom team as well.

“We were bitterly disappointed and devastated after the game, the players are just feeling it a little bit and they need to shake that off and put a run of games together, which they are more than capable of doing.

“I spoke with them. A few of them were shaken at the time, but they are alright now. They are fine.

“And they are really determined. I don’t know if you would say it’s another turning point, but they are really determined to put things right and get back to the levels they know they are capable of.

“I wouldn’t say [the fans] are spoiled. I think they have enjoyed the success as we all have, so maybe, like some of the players, this is all new to them and people react in different ways.

“Society at the minute isn’t in the best of health with massive restrictions and there are frustrations there. People can’t get to the games to support their team and they really need their support at the minute.

“I think that’s a big factor as well. I think the players are really missing their connection with the supporters.”

As for Lennon, he says that the haunted look he wore immediately after the match on Sunday evening was not typical of his current mood or demeanour. The Celtic manager has been candid about his own mental health issues in the past, but he feels that he is in a good place away from the pitch, which is helping him deal better with the task of fixing the issues on it.

“I’m great,” he said.

“It’s been unbelievable the amount of support I’ve had, from people at the club, from supporters, from other managers too.

“It’s been amazing the amount of managers who have been in touch over the last couple of days.

“Some of them have gone through similar circumstances.

“I’ve had great support from the players as well.

“The people at the LMA (League Managers Association) who deal with this on a daily basis have also been in touch. It’s all been very touching and encouraging.

“In my own mind, and my own physical well-being and mental well-being, I’m healthy as anything. And motivated at the minute to turn this around.

“I’ve got coping mechanisms now. I know how to deal with it.

“I’ve had it in varying times and spells in my life and my career. And there are no warning signs at the minute at all.

“I’m living healthy, living good, quietly. I’m conscientious with my work too and trying to cover all the bases the best we can.

“I’m ticking all the right boxes and trying to motivate the players. At the end of the day now it’s all about results.

“It’s a results driven business and results haven’t been what they should be for the quality of players we have.

“You have to bear that responsibility. You have to dig deep and ride it out and come again.

“And you need to enjoy it all, the good times and the bad times.”

There may be some more darkness before any dawn as Celtic travel to the San Siro tonight to face a rampant AC Milan, with little to play for from the perspective of the Scots apart from the restoration of some pride.

Lennon says he will send out a strong team for the match, with the games main significance perhaps relating to his own job security.

“I want us to perform and have that belief and energy and go to the San Siro with nothing to lose,” he said. “I want us to take the shackles off and play like we can.

“We are going to the San Siro so it’s a game of great significance and we want to do the fixture justice and come away with a result.”