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Celtic boss: Neil Lennon

Celtic boss: Neil Lennon

Paul Gilham

Celtic boss: Neil Lennon

Given the nature of events that have surrounded Neil Lennon in recent weeks he could be forgiven for wanting a quieter life.

Given the nature of events that have surrounded Neil Lennon in recent weeks he could be forgiven for wanting a quieter life.

First there were bullets sent in the post, then a parcel bomb addressed to the Celtic manager was intercepted. As if that wasn’t enough, Lennon was then faced with a touchline attack during a game against Hearts when a ‘fan’ jumped out of the stand to confront him.

Anyone who knows Lennon or watched him during his playing days will know that he’s not the kind of person who shirks a challenge — and walking away from the club he loves wouldn’t even begin to come into his thoughts.

A year after becoming Parkhead boss Lennon’s trophy count was yet to start before today’s Scottish Cup final against Motherwell, but his pre-match yesterday was dominated by questions about his future.

The Lurgan man became slightly irritated when in asked, in various ways, whether his current six-month rolling contract would be improved and/or extended and whether the result against Motherwell would make a difference to the board's decision.

“I don't know if that decision has been made or if tomorrow will have that effect on it one way or the other,” he said.

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“It will be a decision that the board will discuss with me or among themselves.

“I am on a six-month rolling contract and until I'm told otherwise I will be the manager.

“I am happy with that (current deal), yes.

“Whether the board wants to offer me an extension to that or a new contract, I have no idea, but again we will talk about that next week.

“You have asked me all these questions today and you have asked me them all season.

“I have always maintained that we will not talk about things until the season is over and the season is not over yet.

“Things will be dealt with after Saturday.

“We want to bring success to the club and the only avenue we have is the cup final and we will do everything we can to win.

“You are always judged as a manager at Celtic on silverware.

“We have fell just short on two attempts and we don't want to fall short on the third.”

Lennon won the Scottish Cup three times as a player — among

the ten honours he collected while playing for the club he supported as a boy.

Indeed the 39-year-old had the honour of raising the trophy as captain the last time Celtic won it.

“We haven't been to the final since 2007,” he said.

“It's an important competition for the players and supporters and the backroom staff as well.”

Lennon believes his players deserve to get something from the season in which they also lost out on the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title to Rangers by just one point.

“I would be disappointed (if we end up with nothing),” he said.

“We have played very well this season and our recent form is very good.

“There is disappointment that we have not won the title, but we have a cup to win.

“Do the players deserve something out of the season? I would have to say I think they do.

“You don't always get what you deserve in football and who is to say that if we end up with nothing, people will say we deserve to end up with nothing.”

Lennon was serving a touchline ban for the Co-operative Insurance Cup final against Rangers in March and had to sit in the stand as the Light Blues won 2-1 after extra-time.

Asked how much he was looking forward to walking out along with Fir Park boss Stuart McCall at the showpiece occasion, he joked: “It will make a pleasant

change,” then added: “It will be a precious moment in my time here as a player, coach and now manager.

“The cup final is a very special occasion, and we haven't been there for a few years.

“It will be a nice moment for me but it will not detract away from concentrating on what we have to do.”


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