Neil Lennon is just about confirmed as the new permanent Celtic manager, but states he didn’t know of it pre-match.
It was apparently business as usual for the soon-to-be full-time Hoops boss yesterday. Celtic were looking to secure a treble treble that threatened to come off the rails when Brendan Rodgers departed in February.
Lennon took the reigns, and has managed to earn 10 wins in 14 games. Only one of those matches ended in defeat, and keeping Celtic on course in both the title-race and Scottish Cup has been enough for the board to give him the job.
One train of thought, however, is that this was all pre-meditated. But Lennon told the BBC yesterday that he wasn’t made aware of the job offer until he was in the shower area post-match.
“No (did he know pre-match?). Peter, Mr Desmond, and a few members of the board came in afterwards in the shower area. We had a five-minute chat and they said they wanted to offer me the job. It’s just a privilege.
“There was massive pressure, but I kept it all sort of boxed in. I’ve evolved. I’m older, I’ve had four years away, and it was always an ambition to come back and manage Celtic again one day.
“I’m so pleased this day has come, but it’s taken a lot of hard work. People might find this hard to believe, but I’m a very good professional!”
The news remains a shock
It felt like the job offer came completely out of the blue yesterday. It was only hours after the Scottish Cup had been won, with many still in a state of euphoria over the treble treble success.
But it’s interesting that the board didn’t offer Lennon the job before now if it was indeed their intention. Peter Lawwell stated to the BBC that they wanted to “kill the speculation”. But if that was the case, why not offer Lennon the job well before now?
The decision has now been made, and Lennon does deserve backing. He’s steered the team to two competitions, and he deserved a day without having to deal with criticism yesterday. It was Lennon and Celtic’s day to celebrate, not criticise.
Potential scrutiny of the appointment is sure to follow in the coming days. And fans are perfectly entitled to their own personal opinions on both the appointment and the board as a whole.
The only certainty in this is that Lennon will be the manager next season. Credit to him for his success so far, but the high standards set must be maintained as we close in on 10-in-a-row.