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LENNY BACKED – FOR NOW

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NEIL LENNON will remain as Celtic manager – until the end of the season, at least.

The under-pressure Hoops boss has been given the backing of Dermot Desmond, the club’s major shareholder, after a disappointing campaign that sees the champions’ bid for a historic tenth successive title in jeopardy.

The 1-0 loss at Ibrox at the weekend left the Parkhead outfit 19 points adrift, albeit with three games in hand. It is a near-impossible task to claim the crown in a term that has also seen the club relinquish their hold on the Betfred League Cup after a dismal 2-0 defeat from Ross County in November.

Europe is hardly worth talking about with disastrous and embarrassing displays in the Champions League and the Europa League Group.

THE END…Neil Lennon and Steven Gerrard at the end of the Ibrox match.

There were angry calls for Lennon to be sacked by raging fans in unruly demonstrations outside Parkhead last month, but the Irishman has been given a vote of confidence – temporarily, anyway – by the Hoops hierarchy who had promised a review of the manager’s position early in the new year.

That has taken place and has led to the boss being supported by Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell, according to a report in the Scottish Sun.

Despite the horrendous and frustrating campaign so far, multi-billionaire Desmond is understood to have seen enough in the unfortunate defeat against Steven Gerrard’s side on Saturday to believe Lennon can contribute to the cause.

OH NO…Nir Bitton sees red.

OH NO…Callum McGregor can’t believe his bad luck after his own goal.

OH NO…Mohamed Elyounoussi sees his shot clear the bar.

OH NO…Leigh Griffiths sees his shot tipped onto the post.

The champions dominated for over an hour until Nir Bitton’s red card in the 62nd minute and only lost to a freak deflection off Callum McGregor’s arm from a right-wing free-kick in the 70th minute.

Celtic are due back from their warm-weather training camp in Dubai on Friday and will go back into Premiership action against Hibs in the east end of Glasgow on Monday evening.

Lennon has also been given the green light to pursue potential purchases in this month’s transfer window where, as CQN reported on Sunday, they will step up their search for a new central defender with Christopher Jullien sidelined for probably the remainder of the term with knee ligament damage after his sickening collision with a post in the 3-0 win over Dundee United at the end of last month.

With long-tern crock James Forrest likely to be still out until the middle of next month, a new winger will also be high on the manager’s wish list.

 
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