Lennon wants the Old Firm to survive

Ronnie Esplin

NEIL LENNON watched his side cruise to a 3-0 win over Rangers at Parkhead yesterday then revealed the agonies of being the Celtic manager in an Old Firm game.

The Armagh man sat in the stand serving the second of a two-match touchline ban and was delighted with the way the champions dismantled their great rivals to go 21 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

Goals from Charlie Mulgrew, Kris Commons and Gary Hooper gave Celtic a comfortable win in what could be the last Old Firm league meeting for several years, if administration-hit Rangers drop out of the SPL, a scenario that could unfold if the Govan club go into liquidation.

Afterwards, the former Celtic skipper spoke about the different take he has on the fixture from others.

"As a player you would miss them terribly," said Lennon. "As a manager they are horrible. Honestly.

"Even yesterday, there was no real pressure on the game but you are always apprehensive going into it.

"They were three brilliant goals but I am thinking 'I don't want Rangers to score and get back into the game' and everybody else is thinking four or five.

"In the fall-out, you boys (the media) will be saying that I got my tactics bang on, my team were up for it and all that nonsense.

"I couldn't ask any more from the team. We played well but I don't buy into the tactical stuff, I got one over him and he got one over me.


"We just won the game and I am thrilled with that. But I don't want to see the back of them (Old Firm games), it really whets the appetite."

Lennon, though, is adamant that Rangers should receive the appropriate punishment by the authorities for whatever misdemeanours they are found guilty of committing.

The Ibrox club has appealed last week's decision by the Scottish Football Association to hit them with a 12-month ban on signing players as well as fines totalling £160,000 for breaching regulations.

Today, the 12 Scottish Premier League clubs will meet at Hampden to vote on a proposal that would involve increasing points deduction for teams in administration from 10 points to at least 15.

Lennon said: "If you have flouted the laws in the capacity that they (Rangers) have then the powers-that-be will punish you accordingly.

"If you break the rules then you should expect to be punished."