Sunday 24 September 2017

We don't need strong Rangers, claims Lennon

Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon does not believe Celtic need a strong Rangers in order to thrive.

The issue of the relationship between the Old Firm clubs is on the agenda at the moment due to the financial restraints the cash-strapped Ibrox club are working under while they wait on the verdict of a tax tribunal which could land them with a bill of £49m and which would almost certainly ensure administration.

A more financially sound Celtic are one point clear of the champions at the top of the Scottish Premier League with a game in hand as they look forward to today's trip to Inverness in the Cup.

The Hoops boss claims their position of strength is down to hard work at the club and is not reliant on weaker opposition from across the city.

"I'm not in the camp who believe the SPL, or Celtic, need a strong Rangers," Lennon said. "I'd be quite happy if we were a lot stronger than Rangers. A lot of people think Celtic and Rangers need each other -- well at the minute we don't.

"We're in a strong position financially with good young players coming through. But we've had to work hard and be patient for that.

"We are talking hypothetically as we don't know what the outcome is going to be. But the people who suffer the most as always are the supporters and I have a lot of sympathy for the Rangers fans with the situation."

The Irishman also acknowledged the boost that Nikica Jelavic's move from Rangers to Everton on deadline day has given his side in their bid to wrest the title back.

"It will certainly weaken Rangers' squad because he is a superb player," he said. "But it is not our title. Rangers are the champions, we are trying to win it back."

None of Celtic's transfer window recruits -- Pawel Brozek, Rabiu Ibrahim and Mikael Lustig -- are expected to feature today.

Inverness CT v Celtic, Live, Sky Sports 3, 12.45

Irish Independent

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