Tuesday 6 December 2016

Lennon set for new deal after Cup joy

Lisa Gray

Published 22/05/2011 | 05:00

Neil Lennon has welcomed the news that he is set for a new contract after clinching his first trophy as Celtic manager.

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The Hoops secured a 3-0 win over Motherwell at Hampden today to claim the Scottish Cup less than a week after missing out on the Scottish Premier League title to rivals Rangers.

And Lennon -- who has been operating on a six-month rolling contract -- looks set to have more to celebrate in the weeks ahead after the club's majority shareholder Dermot Desmond told a radio station he wants the Hoops boss to remain at Celtic "for a very long time".

Responding to those comments, Lennon said, "I'm pleased. It's great to hear, although he's not said that to me yet! He's been a great supporter. This time last year, after Ross County, he was on the phone to me and gave me great encouragement. Throughout the season he has given me a lot of good advice, as has [chief executive] Peter Lawwell and [chairman] John Reid.

"The support I've had from behind the scenes has been fantastic and we will sit down hopefully in the next week or two and see where we go from there. I love the job, I love the challenge that lies ahead. I've had great backing from the board in general," he added.

Although those contract talks have still to take place, Lennon is already clearly planning for the season ahead.

"I didn't feel any extra pressure going into the game today and I haven't felt much under pressure at all this season," he said.

"It might be a bit more next season when the expectation builds but that comes with the territory of being the manager of Celtic. We will enjoy tonight and hopefully we will come back better and stronger next year."

Midfielder Kris Commons added, "I've heard rumours that he's getting a long-term deal."

Captain Scott Brown said of Lennon, "Hopefully he stays, I want him to stay, all the Celtic fans want him to stay."

Lennon immediately turned his attention to winning the SPL title next season. "This is the first trophy, I'm so proud of them today," he said. "(But) I want the big one on the CV, the sooner the better."

Brown and Commons admitted the Cup win went some way towards making up for missing out on the title. "It gives us a little bit more dignity back," Brown said.

Commons, who joined in January from Derby, added: "This sends us into next season on the high. It makes up a little bit for losing the league. When you're playing for Celtic you need to get silverware."

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