CelticFC

9-in-a-row story pre-order
9-in-a-row-story - pre-order
New Balance Logo
Dafabet Logo Magners Logo
9-in-a-row-story - pre-order
  • Back
  • Show All
  • First Team
  • Reserve Squad
  • Academy
  • Women's Team
  • Commercial
  • Match Reports
  • Tickets
  • Celtic View Button
Celtic TV  Sarajevo no KOthird kit out now9-in-a-row story - pre-orderCeltic CompareFootball For Good Fund
  • Martin O'Neill hails Neil Lennon & Celtic's extraordinary achievement

    Martin O'Neill hails Neil Lennon & Celtic's extraordinary achievement

    By: Joe Donnelly on 24 May, 2020 11:01

  • IN his five years in charge at Celtic, Martin O’Neill won seven trophies, including a domestic treble in his first season. He led the Hoops to their first European final in 33 years, and signed a number of players who would become fan favourites and club greats.

    Neil Lennon was one of those stars, and his former mentor could not be prouder of all that the current Hoops boss has achieved in two spells in the Celtic Park dugout. Speaking about the nine-in-a-row champions’ latest feat, Martin O'Neill was full of praise for Neil Lennon, as a player and as a manager...

    ON CELTIC WINNING NINE-IN-A-ROW
    ‘It’s great news isn’t it? It would have been pretty poor news had anything else developed. It’s a great achievement, absolutely wonderful, and Neil Lennon has done brilliantly, both as a player for Celtic originally, and as a manager on a couple of occasions.

    ‘I signed Neil twice, first for Leicester City from Crew Alexandria. I knew his character, I knew his ability, apart from anything else, and sometimes those things get overlooked when you’re looking at a bigger picture. He was very seldom captain for me, in terms of having the armband – both at Leicester and Celtic – but in effect he was captain of the team, he ruled things from midfield. When I look back and think about it, he was a fantastic signing for us at the time.

    "We were going quite strongly in the league, although Rangers were unbelievably strong at that particular time. We signed him around Christmas time, I think he made his debut against Dundee one evening, and he’s been brilliant ever since.’

    ON NEIL LENNON’S ACHIEVEMENTS AS HOOPS MANAGER
    He came in this time around in difficult circumstances. Celtic were in a decent position in the league, but they had to negotiate cup matches, and that wasn’t easy. Brendan leaving to go to Leicester, there was a wee bit of turmoil, and I suppose opposition teams might have been able to sense that. It seemed as if, from a distance, seamless. It was probably anything but that.

    'He’s got a different style of management, he had to adjust again, the players had to get to know him. Overall, it was a terrific effort. And this season now, to have charged on as it were, to put the disappointment of Rangers winning at Celtic Park behind them, and to go on and sweep all before them.

    ‘I think he’s the perfect man to guide Celtic from here. To me, I thought Neil coming back in was an excellent appointment. He would have that attitude about it anyway, he wouldn’t lie down in any circumstances. I thought it was a great appointment, which it has proved, and I remember saying to him at the time, 'Yeah, go'. He was going to put his whole personality back into the football club again and that’s what he’s done.’

    image

    ON NEIL LEARNING FROM HIM
    ‘Did he learn from me as a manager? Of course he did! He was a terrific footballer. Underrated. It’s easy for me to say now, but he could have – at his very best when we were going strongly domestically and in Europe – played in the top-six teams in the Premier League. There’s no question about that, he could have slotted in and done the job he did for us, no problem, at Anfield, at Old Trafford, or at Maine Road at Manchester City as it was at the time.’

    ON OFFERING ADVICE TO HIS FORMER PLAYER
    I try not to! He’s been blocked on my phone now for about four years! No, we had a couple of conversations before he came back to Celtic. He wasn’t going in there as a complete novice, he’d been there before. You always have to win people round, and of course there were some people with concerns, given Brendan had a bit of a different style to how he did things, and the fact that Neil had to adapt and adapt quickly. He didn’t have a pre-season to work things out, the time just wasn’t there for him.

    'Taking all of those things into consideration, what he did after coming in was a terrific achievement. We had a few words, but he was always going to follow his own instincts. This is what he wanted to do, and he’s done superbly well.

    ‘I won’t be offering him any advice, he doesn’t need any more. He’s in a world of his own now, he’s full of it. Advice from old-timers like myself won’t make a jot of a difference to him! If he keeps doing what he’s doing, that’ll be sufficient. It’s a long road, but they can do it again.’

    ad

    Most Read

    • Celtic sign sponsorship deal with Dahua Technology

      Celtic sign sponsorship deal with Dahua Technology

    • Moi’s last-gasp matchwinner fires Celts into Europa playoff round

      Moi’s last-gasp matchwinner fires Celts into Europa playoff round

    • Neil Lennon: We’ll take huge confidence from Riga win into play-off

      Neil Lennon: We’ll take huge confidence from Riga win into play-off

    • Your Pass to Paradise matchday guide for Celtic v Hibernian

      Your Pass to Paradise matchday guide for Celtic v Hibernian

    • Tune into Celtic TV for Europa League action v Riga

      Tune into Celtic TV for Europa League action v Riga