Neil Lennon looking to Pep things up at Parkhead
Neil Lennon will take inspiration from Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as he begins life as the Celtic boss.
The former Hoops captain was appointed interim manager for the rest of the season after Tony Mowbray's wretched nine-month reign as Parkhead boss was ended following the 4-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League thrashing at St Mirren.
Lennon, who has recruited former Celtic team-mate Johan Mjallby as his assistant, was reserve team manager following a spell as coach under Mowbray's predecessor, Gordon Strachan.
Asked about his obvious inexperience, Lennon used the example of Guardiola, who in his first top job became the first Barca manager to win six trophies in the one season in the shape of the Spanish Primera Division, Copa del Rey, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup, and World Club Cup.
“You don't know until you try it,” the Ulsterman said. “I know there is the thought that you need that experience to manage a club like this and maybe you do but I hope to prove that wrong.
“The most experienced managers in the world have come to the Old Firm and not done as well as they probably would have liked to. Guardiola has done all right at Barcelona, so if anyone is an example he is. It's a wonderful opportunity for me and yes I do want the job for keeps.
“I would have liked the circumstances to have been different but I have a job to do until the end of the season and I want to make the most of the opportunity.
“There were no assurances. I was given the job to see where it takes me. I am under no illusions that, even if things do go well, I might not be offered the job but I have to make the most of it.”
In hoping to emulate, at least in part, the success of Guardiola, Lennon will try to get his players performing more like their teak-tough Old Firm rivals Rangers.
“I think there is bit of a soft mentality about us,” he said. “People may say that Rangers players are not as talented as the players we have, but they have a good work ethic, a good team ethic and they don't know when they are beaten. I want to instil that into us.
“But the bottom line is winning games, by hook or by crook. I want us to be hard to beat. I want them to go out and give everything for the shirt.
“Celtic are one of the best supported teams in the world and have great supporters who have suffered this season. The players know that.”
Lennon pleaded with stay-away Celtic fans to return for the SPL clash with Kilmarnock and promised them that they would see a different Hoops side to the one which capitulated so meekly at New St Mirren Park.
“Please come back,” Lennon said. “Get behind the team, get behind Johan and myself, and we will try and instil some pride.”