Danny the happier Lennon, but St Mirren expect Celtic backlash

St Mirren defender Lee Mair believes manager Danny Lennon’s “refreshing” attitude towards mistakes could be the way ahead for the embattled Scottish game.

Following Tuesday’s 4-3 Scottish Communities League Cup win over Morton, Lennon warned that errors were inevitable as his team adapt to a more attractive, passing style.

Mair feels such an approach inspires confidence and freedom and will suit fans and players alike. Saints go into tomorrow’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League visit of Celtic on the back of just one defeat this season and have won widespread praise for their performances.

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With Scottish football examining the causes of the most disappointing European performance by its clubs, Mair feels Lennon’s approach is worth consideration. The former Aberdeen centre-back said: “It’s enjoyable, it’s a lot better than launching the ball into the channels all the time. Anyone can do that. The manager is encouraging us all to play - if we make mistakes, just keep trying to play.

“Before if you made a mistake and were getting in trouble for it, players would hide.

“Whereas now, if the manager sees you doing the right things, he is encouraging you, because you are trying to play the way he wants to play. It lets you play and enjoy it.

“If you try and do something too clever then you obviously get in trouble, but it is refreshing to know you have the freedom to play. Everyone makes mistakes.

“It is quite new, before if you made a mistake you would get rollicked. Maybe that’s old school and maybe we need to move on. The freedom to play is an enjoyment - you play better because you are more relaxed and confident.”

Saints face a Celtic side reeling from their Europa League defeat by Sion, the two legs sandwiching a home loss to St Johnstone in the SPL. “They will be hurting so it will be tougher than normal,” Mair said. “They are people with pride and, like anyone, if you take a knock you want to get back and rectify it.

“That’s exactly what we would be doing if we got a bad result. We know what to expect, Celtic will be coming straight at us.

“But we have to look after ourselves and continue the way we have been playing.”

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon will assess his players ahead of the clash in Paisley. Beram Kayal, Kelvin Wilson, Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew all played in Sion last night after recovering from various injuries. However, they could not prevent Celtic crashing out of the Europa League play-offs after a 3-1 second-leg defeat and Lennon, who made five changes for the game, may think about tinkering again for the trip to St Mirren Park.