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Lennon: Rangers will take time to rebuild

Neil Lennon believes Rangers will rebuild over several years rather than rush into a £50m splurge to compete again at the top of Scottish football.

Lennon: happy to be challenged
Lennon: happy to be challenged

Lennon will deliver a third consecu­tive league title if Celtic beat Partick Thistle at Firhill tonight, after closest challengers Aberdeen were held at Ross County last night.

Dave King, the former Rangers director, who wants to finance an investment plan for the beleaguered Ibrox club, has said it could take £30m-£50m to make them competitive with Celtic again and said he was prepared to provide the lion's share of that to make them SPFL Premiership title contenders as early as 2015/16.

King's comments came only a day after the Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne had said his club would spend money to strengthen this summer with the intention of denying Celtic a repeat of the massive points advantage they have had this season.

Lennon was philosophical about the statements coming out of two of the country's other major clubs, though. He would welcome a greater level of competition in the Premiership next season and beyond, he said, but he doubted whether either Rangers or Aberdeen would embark on truly massive spending projects. Celtic's own financial position was still robust, he stressed.

"I wouldn't imagine that would happen [Rangers and Aberdeen investing massively]. I think the owners of clubs are far too astute for spending big money and 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. I can't imagine clubs like Aberdeen or Rangers, at this stage, will start throwing millions of pounds at it to chase it."

On King's remarks, he said: "£50m is a lot of money and I'm not convinced that the owners would want to go down that road again, too quickly. We are in a good position but we have had to work very hard to get into this position and we have had our fingers burned along the way. It gets frustrating at times.

"We don't spend the money that I would like but I understand that as well because of where we are and the position we are in. But I think that will be a short-term thing and going into the future, for the next four of five years, we will look very strong.

"We are in a good position because the club has been sensible. And we are not in the position that we were 10 or 12 years ago [when players were signed for £6m transfer fees and the wage bill was far higher] but we may be again once things start to change. There's no question that when Ran­gers come back that will certainly boost their coffers but it will also boost our coffers as well. I would welcome a challenge from Aberdeen.

"You look at the scenes of the last 10 days and you can see that Aberdeen certainly have a huge fanbase. But I think it will be very difficult. We have improved this season in the league but no-one seems to talk about that.

"We've got 81 points now and we had 79 in total last season. We've got money in the bank from player sales and we may have more money going into the bank from player sales going into this summer. We are 24 points clear with eight games to go."

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