I will sell to aid Hoops' Euro hopes - Lennon

Joe McHugh

NEIL LENNON is bracing himself to sell one of his top stars to fund Celtic's Champions League hopes.

As soon as he took over as manager from Tony Mowbray in 2010, Lennon sold Aiden McGeady to Spartak Moscow to finance his rebuilding plans.

The arrival of Gary Hooper, Joe Ledley, Biram Kayal and others created a new title-winning squad with lots of sell-on value.

Hooper and midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung have been the subject of recent Premiership interest, with Lennon prepared to wheel and deal to get Celtic through the two qualifiers needed to reach the group stage of the Champions League.

Asked about selling players to bring in fresh faces, he admitted: "I'm due to have talks with Peter Lawwell in the next few days about the club's spending strategy going forward. That might be a possibility.

"There could be scope if we get the right kind of money in. I'm not that keen on selling but needs must at times.

"If we can maybe sell one player and trim the squad that will bring in more revenue and cut the wage bill down.

"That might leave it open for two or three to come in. We have done that in the last couple of years and it has worked quite well.


"It's what a club like Celtic has to do. We have to look elsewhere and be imaginative but it will get harder.

The Celtic boss added: "We'll look to enhance the squad quality-wise and experience-wise.

"As soon as we won the title at Kilmarnock, we started looking ahead to next year.

"I want to get the pre-season sorted out. If we can get it right for the Champions League qualifiers that will have a huge significance for the season.

"I will try and get some players in. I would like to bed them in as quickly as possible. We've got our eye on a few."

Celtic face St Johnstone tomorrow night at Parkhead, with Lennon likely to start with a number of the club's double-winning U19 side.