Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Play-off idea is just silly, says Celtic boss Lennon

Neil Lennon

Celtic manager Neil Lennon last night dismissed proposals for a Clydesdale Bank Premier League title play-off as “absolutely ludicrous”.

Lennon and Old Firm rival Walter Smith have both dismissed an idea put forward by Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson for the top four teams in the SPL to contest a title decider at the end of the regular season.

Thompson mooted the plan after being unconvinced by official SPL plans to move to a 10-team top division with a play-off supplementing one automatic promotion place.

The Tannadice chairman believes the plan would add income and excitement to a league which has not been won by an team outside the Old Firm since Aberdeen triumphed in 1985.

But Lennon said: “I don't think it's fair at all, I think it's absolutely ludicrous. I saw the headlines and I didn't even bother reading the story because I just think it's a piece of nonsense.

“I've been here 10 years and if you look at the gap between the top team and the third and fourth-placed team, the gap is always quite big.

“So basically you're saying your season comes down to two or three games at the end of the season? Absolute rubbish.”

Lennon was only slightly more amenable to suggestions for a play-off for European places outside the top two slots.

“I think that might create a bit of an interest but certainly for the Championship, absolute no-no,” he said.

“From my point of view it's one of the more silly ideas I've heard in recent weeks.

“In fact, it's the silliest idea I've heard in the last few weeks.”

Smith also gave short shrift to the idea, which could be tabled when all 12 clubs meet to discuss reform plans on January 4.

The Rangers manager said: “Probably, when we have a lot of games, people think about the games. When there are no games, they start to conjure up different aspects.

“If you look at the Championship in England, play-offs work as long as your first and second teams get the rewards that they deserve.”

Smith was supposed to take his side to play Dundee United atTannadice tonight but that has been called off due to the adverse weather conditions.

A decision has yet to be taken on a new date for the match.

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