RAGING Neil Lennon today told his slipshod Celtic stars to shape up – or ship out.
The furious Parkhead boss warned he will axe big names and play kids after last night's 2-1 SPL defeat to Motherwell at Fir Park.
Celtic remain way out with a massive 19-point advantage – but Lennon will not stand for any complacency from any player on cruise control. He tore into his team in the aftermath of the defeat. He said: "I am raging."
Asked if the sloppiness could be attributed to the fact players may think the league is won, Lennon retorted: "You tell me. If that's the case then they won't play here again. They can go and find another club and I'll play the kids.
"If they waste any game at this club then that gives me a lot to think about. I am angry with some of the performances tonight."
Lennon is also irked at the thought that so much depends on the involvement of goal king Gary Hooper.
The Englishman, who has netted 24 times this term and will almost certainly quit the club this summer, was on the bench last night before coming on for the latter stages.
"I made changes with other games in mind but I still felt I put a strong team out," said the Celtic manager.
"People keep on at me, wanting to play but they got an opportunity tonight and they didn't play.
"So it seems to me if we leave Hooper out of the team then we suffer.
"We were very, very poor going forward in the first half with the amount of possession we had. Motherwell had one chance and scored – that happens.
"But we were wasteful with chances and possession and disrespectful of the ball. We got a good goal to equalise then we dropped a clanger for the second goal.
"We brought Hooper on and created more chances in the final 15 minutes than we did in the whole game."
The only silver lining for Lennon was the performance of James Forrest.
It has been a disappointing season for the youngster who has suffered with a succession of injury problems, but he showed glimpses of being back at fully fitness last night.
"I thought Forrest was brilliant, more or less back to his best," said Lennon.
"But some of them need to take a look at themselves and maybe I do as well. Did I make too many changes? I don't know.
"But I came here to win the game and I'm bitterly disappointed that we didn't.
"I don't know how many decent balls James put into the box in the first half but there was no real desire to get on the end of things.
"I want more desire from certain players in certain areas."