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Brendan Rodgers will face new level of pressure at Celtic, warns Neil Lennon

By Stuart McKinley

Published 25/05/2016

New experience: Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers gets a look at Parkhead but former manager Neil Lennon says he will face intense scrutiny in the job
New experience: Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers gets a look at Parkhead but former manager Neil Lennon says he will face intense scrutiny in the job
Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon has warned Brendan Rodgers that his every move will come under scrutiny after his appointment as the new manager of Celtic, describing Glasgow as 'a goldfish bowl'.

And while Rodgers may have faced constant media attention during his three-year reign as Liverpool manager, Lennon says that was nothing compared to what his fellow Ulsterman will face now that he has taken over one of Scotland's Old Firm.

Indeed Lennon, who suffered personal attacks and was sent bullets in the post at one time during his four years as boss of the Hoops, has even advised Rodgers to carefully consider where he will live and spend as little time in Glasgow as possible in order to escape the spotlight that will now fall on him.

"The first thing that he will have to deal with is the intrusion on his life. It's a goldfish bowl," said Lurgan-born Lennon, who also spent seven years at the club as a player.

"I think he may take a step out, live in Edinburgh and travel through to Glasgow. That would be better for him.

"The intensity of the scrutiny you're under is something that he won't be used to."

Lennon knows all about the pressure that comes with the job.

He satisfied the supporters' demands by winning three consecutive league titles, as well as giving them some famous European nights, like when they beat Barcelona - including Lionel Messi et al - in the Champions League back in 2012.

That victory helped Celtic to reach the last 16 of the competition, but they failed to qualify for the group stages in the last two seasons under Ronny Deila and putting that right is one of the key expectations that will be placed on Rodgers.

Winning the league will be demanded by the Parkhead faithful, particularly as they will now face a challenge from Rangers following four seasons spent battling back through Scotland's lower leagues.

"Obviously they'll be hot favourites to win the title and from a footballing point of view the remit is to qualify for the Champions League and get into the group stages," said Lennon.

"That's what Celtic will be looking for. They haven't done it for the last two seasons."

Lennon, who is out of work after his 18-month spell in charge of Bolton Wanderers came to an end shortly after the club was taken over in March, expects Celtic to stay at the top of Scottish football, but he is expecting the intensity to increase now that Old Firm league battles are back on the calendar after Mark Warburton led Rangers back to the Premiership, reaching the Scottish Cup final for good measure and beating Celtic to get there.

"It's a big year with Rangers coming back up, but Celtic are well ahead of Rangers on and off the field," said Lennon.

"It's been missed. The semi-final this year was a great occasion, Scottish football needs it.

"The gates that Rangers and Celtic bring will benefit all the other clubs in the Premiership as well, and hopefully they'll be able to track a better calibre of player again.

"I'm not convinced how much investment Rangers will be able to put in the team, but they've signed Joey Barton. That's raised a few eyebrows."

Lennon is currently weighing up his next move. His time at Bolton was blighted by the club's financial problems and although he expressed interest in returning to Celtic, Rodgers' appointment has close that avenue.

"Moving abroad is definitely something that would interest me, because I've enjoyed the European experience (at Celtic)," he added.

"No question, if an opportunity arose that I really liked the look of then I'd seriously consider it."

Belfast Telegraph

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