Vidar Riseth was part of the most infamous chapter in Celtic’s modern-day history.

The Super-Caley-Go-Ballistic night more than 20 years ago was the nadir of John Barnes’ brief association with the club and promptly ended his tenure in Glasgow amid soap opera tales of boots chucked into bins and dressing room brawls.

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Where Barnes’ involvement was fleeting, Neil Lennon has been woven into the fabric of Celtic as player, captain and manager but for the first time in two decades there are parallels to be drawn between then and now as the support once more mobilise themselves at the front of the stadium to make their point.

Few have escaped their wrath. Lennon was the initial target as the rumblings of discontent that resonated after the Champions League qualifying defeat to Ferencvaros took firm root following the defeat to a team that was essentially Sparta Prague reserves. There has been little available evidence on the park to dispel the shouting.

The board’s decision to back Lennon, reiterated on Monday night in the wake of further anger after the draw with St Johnstone, has put them firmly in the firing line. Graffiti inked “sack the board” banners seemed to belong to a retro Celtic era only very recently yet are suddenly back in vogue in the East End.

Criticism of the players has felt less vocal. Most would be forgiven a raised eyebrow when Riseth, like many who have gone before him, profess to retain an abiding affection for the club he passed through yet his descriptions and irritations as he ruminated on recent performances would give credence to his offering that he still watches Celtic games.

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And according to the Norwegian, the players have got off lightly in terms of accepting their part in the current 13 point gap that yawns between Celtic and Rangers.

“If I was paying a lot of money I would look at a lot of the performances this season and think that most of those guys only wanted to be there for the money,” he said.

“In Norway, lots of people were very excited about Jens Petter Hauge’s goal against Celtic in the Europa League last week. Yet, I was watching the game and all I could think about was how easy it was for him.

“He was allowed so much time. He was able to take the ball and just skip past Celtic players. There was no conviction in the tackles. There was no confidence or belief about winning the ball and it looked like it was too much of an effort to stop him. A game like that you should be busting a gut to stop an AC Milan player getting into your box.

“I thought the same when I watched the game against Rangers.

“I have a lot of sympathy with the supporters and not only because I would see myself as one of them.

“In Glasgow football is everything and if you are a supporter of Celtic or Rangers then it is a big part of your life. They are frustrated. They feel like no-one is listening to their anger. If they were in the stadium they would be very clear that the performances have not been good enough.

“I actually think that has been a big part of the problem this season. I think for a lot of the Celtic players it has felt as though they have been playing in friendlies. They need the edge that comes from the support.

“It’s not an excuse. It has not been good enough and if you can’t handle the pressure when it is on at a time like this then maybe some of them would be better looking for a smaller club where it is not so intense.”

Celtic’s tale of woe is substantial; they have won just two games from their last 12, it is eight games since their last clean sheet, they are without a win in their last five outings at Celtic Park and a porous defence has shipped 28 goals in their last dozen matches, an average of 2.3 per game.

If that makes for grim reading it is nothing to the league table where the real meaning of those figures can be seen. 13 points off the pace with two games in hand is not insurmountable in theory but on current evidence there is nothing to underwrite that hypothesis.

“Celtic have players who are the best in the country,” said Riseth. “They have the best squad of players but they are not showing it. Steven Gerrard doesn’t have players who are better than Celtic, I don’t think, but they are performing better. He is getting more out of them.

“They are getting better results. They are in a much better position in the league.

“The coach will always find himself under the spotlight when that happens. That is football.

“But the club are prepared to back him now and the players need to be able to look at themselves in the mirror and ask if they are doing enough.

“Celtic remains a massive club. If you don’t want to be there, there will always be someone more than ready to come and take your place. The players need to show some professionalism and put their heart on their sleeve a little bit.”