Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Celtic have cash to dwarf rivals: Lennon

Long haul: Neil Lennon marked four years as Celtic boss yesterday

Neil Lennon does not believe Rangers or Aberdeen will spend big in their bid to catch up with Celtic, but warned that the Parkhead club have the cash in reserve to see off any would-be challengers.

Former Ibrox director Dave King, who lost £20m at the Govan club during a previous regime, is looking to affect change at Rangers with a fresh share issue, and is prepared to put in another £30m in his bid to make the Scottish League One champions competitive with their traditional city rivals again.

The South Africa-based Glasgow businessman's claim came a couple of days after Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne, celebrating the Dons' Scottish League Cup final victory parade in the Granite City, told fans that he would "do everything in our powers" to get closer to the Parkhead club in the league.

However, ahead of the Scottish Premiership clash with Partick Thistle tonight, where Celtic can clinch their third successive title after Aberdeen drew 1-1 with Ross County last night, the Hoops boss said: "I wouldn't imagine that would happen. I think the owners of clubs are far too astute to spend big money trying to chase it.

"I think they will build brick by brick over maybe the course of two, three, four seasons and really try to close the gap.

"We haven't spent an amazing amount of money over the last couple of years so we still have some stock in the bank if we need it or should we need it, but no, I can't imagine clubs like Aberdeen or Rangers at this stage, will start throwing millions of pounds at it to chase it."

Lennon was speaking four years to the day after he was named as the Hoops' interim manager, following the departure of Tony Mowbray, before taking the job on a permanent basis.

The former Parkhead skipper recently revealed in an interview that he wants to manage in England in the future, adding that he was disappointed not to have yet received any offers.

However, he admits considering a position like the one at his former club Nottingham Forest would be difficult due to the owner's demands, which were alluded to by Neil Warnock when he rejected the opportunity to take over at the City Ground from Billy Davies.

The former Crystal Palace, QPR and Leeds boss said: "I wanted to keep my own direction. If I can't go into something 100 per cent manager, as I like to manage, I cannot commit to it."

It was in the context of boardroom interference that Lennon said: "It is a very difficult thing to do. Where does that leave your position of strength at the club?

"That would make my position certainly not enjoyable and probably untenable."

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