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Friday 24 February 2017

Lennon targets trophies after trebling money in new Celtic deal

Ewing Grahame

Celtic manager Neil Lennon failed to prevent Rangers from winning a third successive Scottish Premier League title but his inaugural season at the helm has earned him an extended, improved contract.

Lennon, who turns 40 on Saturday, impressed the board of directors enough for them to treble his personal terms, while also doubling the length of his rolling contract to 12 months.

The postal and physical attacks Lennon was forced to endure served not only to increase his determination to persevere in the job, it also strengthened the bond between himself and the Celtic support to the extent that it would have been a massive PR gaffe by the club if they had not chosen to publicly back him.

The board will have been struck by the significant improvements on the pitch, the increased numbers through the gates and the fact their points total (92) would have been enough to win the title in each of the five previous seasons.

"I am absolutely delighted to agree this new contract," Lennon said. "I have had 10 great years connected to Celtic and I hope to enjoy many more.

"Clearly, (that) is down to me and I will be doing everything I possibly can to ensure we bring our fans more success. I have been speaking to (chief executive) Peter (Lawwell) over the past few weeks and we are both delighted to move forward together.

"We have sat down, looked at last season and now we look ahead. I know that Peter and the board's vision for the club is the same as mine.

"The work begins now on striving to bring domestic trophies to Celtic Park and on having some success in Europe. We have already begun looking (at players) for next season."

As such, Lennon will now turn his attention to recruitment.

Last year's signings produced more successes (Emilio Izaguirre, Beram Kayal, Gary Hooper, Kris Commons) than failures (Efrain Juarez, Daryl Murphy) and the manager will be looking to repeat that strike-rate this summer.

Last year Lennon, on being confirmed as the successor to Tony Mowbray, promised to bring back the thunder to Parkhead and the Celtic board will also have noticed that attendances at home games also showed a significant rise from the previous year.

Lennon, in turn, thanked the Celtic support for their backing last season.

"The players have connected with our fans, they know what Celtic means to so many people and I know they will be looking to deliver success for them this coming season," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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