It was not at all easy for Neil Lennon when he succeeded Brendan Rodgers in an interim role midway through the campaign. Celtic were aiming for a historic treble ‘treble’ but had a lot to play for in the final months under real pressure from Rangers. Yet the Irishman accepted the challenge and met the objectives with utmost professionalism defeating Hearts in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday afternoon.
Lennon was understandably criticised having suffered a 2-0 humiliation against famous rivals Rangers earlier this month. His tactics were questioned time and again as the contrast to Rodgers’ brand was distinguishable in most cases. But the success he attained can’t be denied, and the club’s chief executive Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond have now offered him the job permanently after conquering the silverware, according to BBC Sport.
“At this point, in terms of looking at the squad, there’s nobody that I’ve worked with who’s got a better eye for a player. It’s better to do that [offer him the job] tonight to just kill the speculation.”
Stated Lawwell after the game as he lauded Lennon for his optimism and attitude in the moment of need.
The former Celtic skipper enjoyed a successful managerial stint in between 2010 and 2014 but is up for the challenge and made it clear while being interviewed after the game (as quoted by Sky Sports).
“It was always an objective. I left the club on good terms last time and nothing has changed. It has been a roller coaster couple of months. It has been difficult but I hope I can bring a lot more success going forward.”
Skipper Scott Brown described it as ‘phenomenal’; however, the supporters might still be in a quandary about the decision due to Rangers’ resurgence under Steven Gerrard. Lennon should work on a lot of things to meet the objective of clinching a tenth straight Premiership triumph and strengthen the squad significantly amid a predicted mass exodus during this summer.
The backline needs to be reconfigured with Mikael Lustig, Dedryck Boyata, Cristian Gamboa and Filip Benkovic all set to depart upon expiration of their respective contracts. The Bhoys require reinforcement in the middle of the park as well as down the wide areas and in the attacking third.
The gaffer should be more aggressive with his strategy and gameplan in close contests and motivate his men to maintain this supremacy for years to come. Only time will tell if Celtic made the correct decision. Maybe this decision to appoint Lennon feels a bit safe, but given the changes we already expect in this Celtic squad, this could turn out to be the correct decision.