Celtic wil welcome St. Mirren to Glasgow today, and a win will see the hoops move closer to three in a row. In fact, aberdeen have two games before Celts travel over to firhill on Wednesday, and if they drop points in either of them, Neil Lennon will become one of only three post war managers to hit that third consecutive title.
The other two discussed this eventuality some time ago.
Celtic won’t have James Forrest, Derk Boerrigter or Nir Bitton available, but Virgil van dijk is back from suspension, and Beram Kayal is itching for a game. Jim Goodwin will miss out for Paisleys finest, as will fellow ex-Celt David van Zanten, but Eric Djemba Djemba is fit again fit again. (sic )
“St Mirren will be up for it, as is every team who comes to Celtic Park. So we have to win the battle and hopefully our football will come out on top,” Celtic midfielder Charlie Mulgrew told the BBC. “It’s been a good league campaign, with just one defeat. It would have been nice to have remained unbeaten but it wasn’t to be.
“The manager wanted us to do better in the league this season and we’ve done that,” he added. “We got 79 points last season and we already have 78.”
Well, lets get out there and put on a show.
Might take our mind of a somewhat troubling interview with the Daily Record, which curiously has no journalist credited to it.
The headline is a traditional eyecatcher;
Celtic boss Neil Lennon admits a lack of interest
from English clubs has left him disappointed
The implication is that he is checking his phone every day for calls.
LENNON has revealed that he is surprised that no English clubs have tried to lure him down south as he dreams of managing in the Premier League.
This reads like a “come and get me ” plea. As though he thinks that the EPL chairman think he is unavailable. so far, though, no direct quotes….
NEIL LENNON last night admitted he’s disappointed English clubs haven’t tried to tempt him down south.
Did he ? Where ?
The Celtic boss, left, has been linked with a few jobs after raising his profile over the past two seasons in the Champions League.
But despite beating Barcelona and taking the Parkhead club into the last 16 of Europe’s elite tournament, no chairman has made a move for him yet.
Still no quotes, just a cunning lead up that implies that this was the conversation they were having until a suitable quote comes up.
Lennon would love to manage in the Premier League and still clings to the dream of leading the Hoops there one day.
Such a scenario seems unlikely so his only chance of pitting his wits against the likes of Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger on a regular basis would come with a move away.
And Lennon, who stands on the brink of his third successive league title, is surprised his achievements at Parkhead haven’t already led to an official approach.
Implying that his time at Celtic is an apprenticeship for the EPL.
He said: “Yes, it surprises me. It disappoints me at times although I’m not just talking about myself.
“There should be more British managers being looked at for Premier League jobs. This is not me being xenophobic but I’m glad Tim Sherwood got a crack at Spurs, put it that way.
“It’s nice to see a young British boss getting a chance at one of the top clubs.
“Brendan Rodgers has also had great success at Liverpool. He’s a yardstick for the rest of us now.
Okay, its just possible Lennon is putting himself on the market, but it could also be seen that he is commenting on the lack of British managers in the EPL.
“The perfect scenario is managing in England with Celtic but as you grow and look to progress your career, if things don’t change for the better here then maybe you need to look elsewhere.
“I have a lot of challenges still ahead of me here but the Premier League would be an ambition one day.
If, on the eve of a third successive title, and a place in the history books, he is actually thinking ahead to the EPL, then that “day ” should be Monday, with a boot up his arse. As with players, we only want to have people who want to be at Celtic.
“If Celtic were to play in England, even if it is in the lower leagues to start with, I think we’d grow into one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
“There are hints it could happen, even from UEFA.”
It does sound a wee bit like he wants to work in England. Noticably, the actual questions he is answering are not in the article, just a summation of them.
Lennon is no stranger to controversy and SFA disciplinary hearings, something he admits might be scaring off potential suitors. But the Northern Irishman insists he has mellowed on the touchline.
He said: “For two years now I have been pretty consistent and my record pretty unblemished.”
” I’ve been a good boy. come and get me, please,please…”
That has coincided with Rangers’ financial collapse and with no Old Firm rivalry the Celtic gaffer has also had fewer off-field problems.
When the two rivals were last engaged in a battle for the title in 2011, Lennon was sent bullets and a parcel bomb through the post.
He was also attacked by a Hearts fan at Tynecastle towards the end of that season but things have been less combustible as Rangers rebuild in the lower leagues after their problems.
Lennon, though, was still targeted this season when he was forced to leave the League Cup clash between Aberdeen and St Johnstone after fans abused him.
Here the writer seems to be justifying why he wants away, listing all the problems he has had with the forces of darkness.
But when asked if the temperature had cooled without Rangers, the Hoops boss said: “Possibly. I wouldn’t like to say that is the sole reason for it but certainly the intensity of the rivalry is not there now.
“Whether that heats up again in years to come, I don’t know.”
The obligatory throwing in of the dead club….
However, Lennon did admit he misses aspects of the Old Firm rivalry. He said: “Every title win always feels the same but there is a sort of subconscious loss there without Rangers.
They might have put the words into his mouth, but that statement alone -implying that the titles are not the same without the cheats, is to my mind a sackable offence. We, the supporters have been paying good money to watch a corrupt league for years, and for the manager to imply its not the same without them, is bordering on the criminal.
“The age-old rivalry is missing. We know it is only a matter of time before that picks up again.”
Hooray! It won’t be long before they are back ! A-cheating and a -lying and a-stealing their way through the season. With all the hatred and bile that their followers bring… Yeah, fucking hooray.
Seriously, I hope he was misquoted.
What was considered to be a mortal blow when Rangers went into liquidation, has turned out to be little more than a flesh wound. And it looks like the patient might even come back stronger than before.
Why would we want to spoil it now ? Why would Lennon-or Celtic for that matter – advocate the introduction of a new entity, which in all truth , is behaving exactly the same way as the old one it replaced ?
Do we really need all that crap again ?
Anyway, we said earlier this week that the boss would have abusy couple of days, and he has certainly been talking a lot.
Reports that Federico Macheda was on his radar have been dismissed as “wild speculation ” , because he couldn’t say “complete and utter bollocks ” as there were ladies present.
Macheda will have a role at Old Trafford anyway. He’s been recalled to Man Utd to sell Rosary Beads before the Bayern Munich game.
However, with season books due to be renewed soon, it was time for a bit of PR about the next transfer window…
“We have an extensive list of players we are looking at.
“We’re certainly looking at four or five positions.
“Striker is always a priority, but, at the minute we have very good players in that position.”
“Possibly it might be an average transaction period, but you go in with an idea of what you want.
“Whether you get it is another thing.
“We were more stable last year, but we’re working on strengthening the squad going into next year.
“I don’t want people assuming they are going to play every week.”
“You look at last season, and I thought there was a lot of upheaval when we lost three boys in the space of a week to 10 days,” he reflected.
“That was a difficult period because we were in the middle of the qualifiers and you couldn’t play them as you didn’t know what frame of mind they were in.
“It may be a little bit less fraught than it seems, and we’ll try and do our business as quickly as possible,”
Fortunately , he didn’t get the soundbites mixed up with the ones he uses for after the window;
” We couldn’t get it done in time. His club were refusing to sell until they got a replacement in. ”
” there was money available but we were looking for value, and the club were asking too much. ”
” he was waiting to see if we qualified for the group stages ”
” We had the deal done but an EPL team made him a silly offer. ”
With the extreme polarity of the signings recently-they are either world class or Ibrox class, maybe its not such a bad idea to give Liam Henderson an extended run, and recall Calum MacGregor-fifteen goals for Notts county so far-and Tony Watt.
We’ll never know unless we have a look.
Lennon also told the Scotsman that he’s expecting Georgios Samaras to leave.
I thought he already had.
“I have to plan for being without Georgios. You never know but, as we stand, it is looking less likely he will be here after the summer.
He’s not really here before the summer either.
“It’s certainly looking that way. There has been no more communication between the club and his representatives at the minute. He is still with the same agent he had from the start of the season but there have been no more talks since the January window. I will need to speak to him to see where I am and that will be a priority in the next week or two.
The only conversation left between the two involves returning the club car.
“Georgios is not out of the team at the moment because of that – I wouldn’t cut off my nose to spite my face. I have too much respect for Georgios and he will play games between now and the end of the season but it’s looking less and less likely that he will be here after that.
At the expense of Liam Henderson-or another young lad ? Or even me, come to think of it. In fact, it would be more productive to play the winner of the number seven competition in the match programme.
I’m reminded of the old proverb.
If you love something , set it free. If it doesn’t come back, then hunt it down and kill it.
The caption competition yesterday featured Scotlands brightest young managerial prospect Ally McCoist, caught in an unfortunate pose which led to considerable mirth amongst Celtic fans.
It also threw up an interesting marketing idea from Dannybhoy, who suggested that the missing object was a sausage roll shaped like a flute.
An item like that could be made up and sold outside Ibrox, those daft buggers will buy anything for a quid.
Except their club, obviously.
Today, we show an inspiring picture of a player who picked up a knock or two playing for Celtic-they are listed- who is he, and why is today connected with him ?