JOHN HARTSON reckons recent indications tend to suggest his former team-mate Neil Lennon has ALREADY been told he will be in charge of Celtic next season.

The former Hoops manager answered the club’s SOS a fortnight ago to step into the dug-out after the hasty departure of Brendan Rodgers for mid-table Leicester City.

Lennon had only 24 hours to put together a line-up to face Hearts at Tynecastle, a venue where the champions had surrendered three points earlier in the campaign.

A stoppage-time goal from Odsonne Edouard made certain of a victory on his second homecoming and second-half efforts from James Forrest and Scott Brown eased the holders into the Scottish Cup semi-final after a win over Hibs three days later at Easter Road.

A frustrating goalless draw against Aberdeen at Parkhead on Saturday maintained the club’s eight-point advantage at the top of the Premiership with only nine games to play.

Now Hartson believes Lennon has been given the green light to prepare the Hoops for the new campaign with a summer upheaval looming.

The ex-Welsh international striker, speaking in the Evening Times, insisted: “I said last week that I felt that Celtic should just come out and give Neil Lennon the job on a permanent basis and I just wonder if he has already been told that privately.

“I thought it was interesting to hear him say that he had been involved in discussions with Peter Lawwell and Lee Congerton with regards to identifying summer signing targets and that itself seems to point to a long-term appointment.

“In any case, I think that it makes sense.

“There is so much that needs to go into the planning for this summer for Celtic.

“It is a big window in terms of getting players in and getting some out of the door because there are a few there who are picking up decent wages, but who aren’t really anywhere near the first-team picture.

“There is much that needs to be organised in terms of having a settled central defence ahead of the Champions League qualifiers because they come round very quickly as soon as the season is over.

“There isn’t time at that stage to be scrambling around and trying to work out what your best XI is.”

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