THE annual Groundhog Day celebrations made famous by the 1993 Bill Murray movie will be held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, tomorrow.

But Celtic have, just like Murray in the romantic comedy, been reliving the same nightmarish 24 hours over and over again for many, many months now.

And it has been no laughing matter.

The defeat they suffered to St Mirren on Saturday – their first to the Paisley club at Parkhead in nearly 31 years – followed an all-too-familiar script.

The reigning Scottish champions failed to perform at an acceptable level in any department, conceded a goal as a result of some slapstick defending by Shane Duffy and slumped to an ignominious loss.

Their fans were incensed and demanded that Lennon, who publicly condemned many of his players for their performances in his post-match interview, be sacked.

It has been the same old story since a 2-1 defeat to Ferencvaros of Hungary in a Champions League qualifier in the East End of Glasgow way back in August.

It was pretty much what happened during and after the games to Rangers in the Premiership in October, Sparta Prague in the Europa League and Ross County in the Betfred Cup in November and St Johnstone in the league in December.

READ MORE: Celtic loanee tests positive for coronavirus and is forced into isolation period

However, following each reverse, each setback, each slip-up, each humiliation, supporters woke up, opened their eyes and found that nothing whatsoever had changed.

It is time for those who are calling the shots at Celtic to say “that’s a wrap” – if only out of respect for Lennon and all he has done for them over the past two decades – and look at who can ensure the next instalment of their story is a more successful one.

It was impossible not to feel sympathy for the Northern Irishman at the weekend. His second spell at the helm of his boyhood heroes has unravelled in front of his eyes. But he is still having to soldier on regardless and front up to the fallout.

Some say he should just walk away of his own volition. But he would be giving up on his compensation pay-out if he took that route. He is quite correct to hold out for what he is entitled to contractually. It is incumbent on his superiors to do the right thing.

READ MORE: Stewart Gilmour: Peter Lawwell 'pulled the strings' of the 'puppets' who run Scottish football

Lennon has been an unfortunate position for some time now. The coronavirus outbreak last year wreaked havoc in football as well as the wider world. Players who were hoping to depart in the summer have had to remain because of Covid-19 as well as the bid to complete 10-In-A-Row. Their commitment has been questionable.

Was it any coincidence that several key performers were utterly anonymous just days after Jeremie Frimpong was allowed to join Bayer Leverkusen of Germany in a £11.5m transfer?

Odsonne Edouard scored a first-half equaliser against St Mirren at the weekend to take his tally for the 2020/21 season to 14. It is a decent enough return from a striker. But his all-round play lacked sparkle. He hasn’t scaled the heights of previous campaigns consistently. He isn’t the only one either.

Duffy, the Republic of Ireland centre half whose capture from Premier League outfit Brighton on a season-long loan back in September was hailed as a major coup, can’t be accused of not caring. His only failing has been his woeful form.

READ MORE: Neil Lennon says Celtic players are letting him down and couldn't handle pressure of 10-in-a-row bid

Lennon can’t be blamed for the poor contribution of the 41-times capped 29-year-old this term. His acquisition has shown often enough in Premier League in England and on the international stage that he is a fine footballer on his day. Bringing him on board made perfect sense. The sudden loss of his father last year and being apart from his young family has clearly affected him badly.

So why has he started? Lennon has certainly made his share of mistakes. His team selections and formations haven’t worked at times. His defiant public defence of the warm weather training break in Dubai last month amid rising infection rates was ill-advised given the political climate. Being so critical of his charges, too, will not have gone down well in the dressing room.

However, many of the problems are not of his making. The attitude of many of his highly-paid charges has been nothing short of a disgrace. He has had to deal with injuries to key men and the loss of others to positive tests. Matches have been cancelled and momentum lost. This has been a season too far for his talismanic skipper as well.

Before the 2-1 defeat to St Mirren on Saturday it was expected that Lennon would remain in situ until the summer and then move on along with chief executive Peter Lawwell as part of a major overhaul of football operations.

READ MORE: Neil Lennon on his Celtic summer rebuild plans as he lays blame for poor season partly at door of wantaway stars

Standing by the man who won five consecutive domestic trophies after replacing Brendan Rodgers in 2019 was considered the safest option if Celtic were to secure second spot in the Premiership and challenge for the Scottish Cup.

However, bringing the curtain down on his second spell in charge and making his assistant John Kennedy or even his first team coach Gavin Strachan interim boss seems the most sensible course of action now.

Their chances of finishing runners-up and securing a place in the second Champions League qualifying round are in serious jeopardy.