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Sympathy vote will not earn Lennon a new Celtic deal

Neil Lennon thanked the Celtic Board for their support during his recent troubles — but knows only positive results will extend his stay at Parkhead.

The Hoops boss returns to the dugout for tonight's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park after serving a five-match touchline ban but is still under guard following a series of threats which included being sent bullets in the post.

Lennon is on a six-month rolling contract which he will discuss with the board at the end of the season but he is well aware that silverware and not sympathy will be the criteria for judgement.

Celtic have the chance to go five points clear of Rangers at the top of the table in Perth while looking forward to the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen at Hampden on Sunday and the former Hoops skipper is hoping to have both trophies on show in the Parkhead boardroom when it comes to talking about a new deal.

“My professional life has been no different, I am concentrating on what we are trying to do,” he said.

“The other aspects of my life away from the club have been well-handled and taken care of and I have been well briefed on the aspects of the things I have had to put up with in the last three or four months.

“It puts a slight strain on things at home at times but I love the job and my family know how important it is to me and they have been fully supportive.

“The board have also been supportive. I have had great backing from Peter (Lawwell, chief executive), the chairman John Reid, Dermot Desmond (majority shareholder) and the other members of the board.

“It is a results-driven business and I think that will be the overriding factor in what happens in the summer.”

Meanwhile, Rangers assistant manager Aly McCoist, defender Madjid Bougherra and forward El-Hadji Diouf will today learn what punishment they face for their part in last month's volatile Scottish Cup fifth-round loss at Celtic.

Rangers appealed against McCoist's two-match ban, while Bougherra and Diouf, both sent off in that game, face charges of “misconduct of a significantly serious nature” and any ban would hamper Rangers' title challenge.

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