Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Celtic to hand Lennon manager's job

Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon is set to be handed the Celtic manager’s job as part of a ‘dream ticket’ double appointment.

Lennon has agreed to work for his first season with a Director of Football and will have a say in who fills that role.

It could even be Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni, holding the two posts in tandem.

Lurgan-born Celts hero Lennon certainly looks to be within grasp of the job he has coveted since taking over as caretaker from Tony Mowbray in March.

He has the seal of approval from the majority of fans — and last night chief executive Peter Lawwell dropped a significant hint to a meeting of 500 members of the influential Celtic Trust.

Lawwell told the fans, who backed Lennon in a unanimous show of hands: “We are going through a selection process which Neil is fully involved in.

“If we gave him he job because we liked him, that would be the wrong thing to do. If he gets the job, it is because he is the best man for it.”

Lawwell promised an appointment ‘within 10 days’, the delay believed to be linked to Celtic owner Dermot Desmond’s insistence on the recruitment of an experienced father figure to help guide Lennon through his first season in charge.

Lennon’s acceptance of that condition, with the choice sanctioned by him, has paved the way for him to land his dream job at 38.

He told last night’s meeting: “If I do get the job, maybe I would like an older head to bounce ideas off. It is a possibility if the outcome is positive.”

That outcome could involve Trapattoni, previously linked to the job, now mentoring Lennon while still managing the Republic team.

In a separate Old Firm move today, Rangers boss Walter Smith conceded defeat in his bid to keep top scorer Kris Boyd at Ibrox — Celtic are one of the clubs with whom he has been linked, along with Birmingham and Newcastle.

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