CELTIC’S treble treble celebrations all went a little Mike Basset: England Manager on Saturday evening when their open-top bus parade through Glasgow was rerouted and then cancelled by police amid safety concerns over the large number of their supporters who had spilled out onto the streets.

Television footage of Scott Brown and his jubilant teammates speeding through the city in the drizzle in the aftermath of their remarkable achievement with nobody around to applaud them was reminiscent of a scene from the Ricky Tomlinson mockumentary.

Whether the Parkhead club have taken a wrong turn appointing Neil Lennon, who is certain to accept the chance to become their manager on a permanent basis for a second time in the coming days, is a moot point.

Celtic certainly acted swiftly offering Lennon, who oversaw both their eighth consecutive Ladbrokes Premiership triumph as well as their William Hill Scottish Cup final victory over Hearts at the weekend, the job full-time once their third successive clean sweep of domestic silverware had been completed. Nothing like striking while the iron is hot.

A sizeable number of their fans, however, feel convinced, for reasons best known to themselves, that the East End club, something of an unstoppable juggernaut in Scottish football these the past few years, will shudder to a halt with the Northern Irishman back behind the wheel.

The majority of those who took part in an online poll about the development on Saturday evening favoured another replacement for Brendan Rodgers being brought on board.

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eter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive, is in no doubts that the Parkhead club will remain firmly on the right track with Lennon in charge of first team affairs and stressed he is unconcerned and uninterested by what the snipers in cyberspace have to say.

“I’m not online,” he said. “I don’t go on it. Honestly, I’ve said hundreds of times, you need blinkers in this job. And if you react to online, or social media, or media, then you’re dead.

“You just need to keep on doing the right things and believe in yourself and making the right decisions. That’s what we’ve done, without any outside influences.

“Brendan came and he came at the right time for him and the right time for us. And Brendan clearly had a lot of the tools and experience, he was from a Celtic background and understood the club.

“There’s probably nobody better at the moment, I would think, made for Celtic than Neil. He’s made for this club.

“He knows the club inside out, he knows the city, he knows what’s required. He’s got the strength of character to take it through. He’s a great coach, has a great eye for a player. We’re delighted to have him.”


Lawwell was well aware of the speculation about the likes of Rafael Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Davie Moyes, Andre Villas-Boas being lined up to take over at Celtic in recent weeks. He admitted they had been contacted by many hopefuls during their period of limbo.

“How credible they were, you never really know,” he said. “We had approaches from many, many agents, many representatives of managers across the board. We put them in the file, just left it and kept our word to Neil, really.

“I’m sure there would be people looking from afar who had an idea of coming here. It’s a fantastic job, unbelievable club, historic, traditional club – whoever gets this job I’m sure will appreciate it, and I know Lenny has.”

But Lawwell made no apologies for Celtic taking their time confirming that Lennon would be getting kept on. “I think there have been other teams recently who have made appointments sooner than they should’ve,” he said. “There was no purpose, no reason for us to do anything quicker.

“We knew Neil would be here at the end of the season. We just felt we’d take our time, get to know each other again and then make the right decision.”

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Lennon won three Scottish titles, two Scottish Cups and reached the knockout rounds of the Champions League during his first spell as manager. Lawwell feels, after working with him again for the past three months, he has matured in the intervening years.

“He’s more experienced, he’s a little calmer, less emotional,” he said. “That’s a great sign that he’s a learner and developer. He’s a thoughtful guy. He’s a very intelligent guy. So there’s been some small differences, but I wouldn’t say massive.”

Lennon, who heads off to Marbella today to help his friend celebrate his 50th birthday, will not have much down time when he returns even though there are six weeks until the opening European qualifier.

There is, he has repeatedly stressed since returning, a major rebuild required in the close season. Players will depart, new signings will be brought in. But Celtic have already laid the groundwork for what promises to be a busy summer.

The challenge from Rangers, who won the Glasgow derby matches at Ibrox this season comfortably, may well be far greater in the 2019/20 campaign. But Lawwell is bullish about the task that lies ahead and their prospects of extending their domestic dominance.

“We still have a core of a lot of good players,” he said. “I think people are maybe over-estimating what we need to do or overstating it. But we understand that we need to be better, we need to be stronger and that will be our intention in the summer.”

“We won’t stand still. Listen, we’re not dependant on another club, we’re independent. We want to make Celtic as best as it possibly can be. That’s our desire, it’s our need and that’s what we’re going to do.

“That’s the pressure of the job. That’s the irony, the longer you go, the more successful you become, the higher the pressure.”


Lawwell, major shareholder Dermot Desmond, chairman Ian Bankier and non-executive director Tom Allison held an impromptu Celtic board meeting following the thrilling 2-1 triumph over Hearts at Hampden on Saturday night and then told Lennon, drenched in champagne from the post-match festivities, the role was his if he wanted it.

“We knew that Lenny was getting the job,” he said. “We decided that we should kill the speculation on a high, get it out and let our supporters know and the media know.

“We hope that he’s not going to say: ‘No’. Our belief is that Neil will take it and become the Celtic manager. That’s our real desire. We just need to clarify the details.”

READ MORE: Why Neil Lennon is better placed to deal with the demands of being Celtic manager than ever before

Lawwell, who has been Celtic chief executive for nearly 16 years now and must take a great deal of the credit for their on and off-field success in that time, is certainly up for the fight. “I love it,” he said. “I just want to keep going. I’m fresh, I’ve got passion, I’ve got desire and I look forward to the new chapter with Neil.”

“It (the treble treble) such an amazing achievement, you’d probably never have imagined it. I’ve been a supporter for all my day. You’d never have believed it, no.”