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lennon to pick up pieces

Neil Lennon wants to restore the Spirit of Seville as he attempts to make the Celtic job his own.

The man from Lurgan was put in charge after Tony Mowbray was axed yesterday knowing that a winning run will put him in prime position to get the job permanently.

Lennon's world has been transformed since the goals flew in from St Mirren on Wednesday night with reality returning at 3pm tomorrow when Celtic face Kilmarnock.

Former Celt Johan Mjallby flew in from Sweden to become Lennon's assistant with the new-look management team charged with restoring pride and winning the Scottish Cup.


Martin O'Neill's Seville side will forever be associated with the goals of Henrik Larsson but it was backed up by the bravery and attitude of winners such as Lennon, Mjallby, Alan Thompson, Chris Sutton and John Hartson.

Lennon has 10 games, assuming that Celtic beat Ross County to reach the Scottish Cup Final, to make the job permanent with iron-man Mjallby desperate to succeed.

He said: "The players need to know they have to wear that Celtic jersey with pride. They need to show the fans they are up to the job.

"The first thing we must do is get back the winning mentality we had when I was a Celtic player. It's been a bad spell for the club recently and maybe they need their confidence back. I think it's about regaining that winning mentality a team like Celtic must have.

"The club can still win a trophy before the end of the season. We don't have much time, so it may be difficult to change the team tactically.

"But hopefully we can put some spirit back into the side. Once we do that it's up to the players to perform.

"The team must start playing well again and, most importantly, winning."

Mjallby left Celtic for Levante in Spain in 2004 where he was a team-mate of Ian Harte before being forced to retire due to a persistent knee injury.

He has been a regular visitor to Celtic since returning to Sweden where he has developed his media career.

Yesterday's call from Lennon was unexpected but despite his media commitments he couldn't wait to get on the plane to Glasgow and a return to the front line.

He admitted: "Neil phoned me around 3pm and asked me if I wanted to help him do a job for the club. It's exciting to be on my way back to Celtic, but I'm definitely still in shock.


"We've always kept in touch since we stopped playing together and it's something we've talked about in the past -- if he got a job in management he'd give me a call.

"But it was still a major surprise when my phone rang. Neil explained the situation and it was an easy decision for me to say yes. Even if I wanted to say no, Neil wouldn't have let me.

"There was absolutely no chance of that. I only had a few seconds to decide, but it was a simple decision. I just told Neil I was on my way, dropped everything and started making arrangements.

"How could I turn this down? Celtic are a team which played such a big part on my career. In my eyes I only played for two clubs and that's AIK and Celtic.

"I go into it with my eyes wide open and look at this as a great opportunity.

"I have been doing coaching courses in Sweden, so this is a chance of a lifetime.

"Even if it is only until the end of the season it will be a great experience.

"I am interested in getting into management anyway, so now I have the chance to learn from Lenny."