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LENNY HAILS UNSUNG HEROES

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NEIL LENNON has applauded Nick Hammond and his team for their work behind the scenes that have opened the way for Celtic to bring in six new Bhoys.

The Hoops spent a reported £12.75million in signing goalkeeper Vaslis Barkas, from AEK Athens, midfielder David Turnbull (Motherwell) and striker Albian Ajeti (West Ham) while also arranging season-long loan deals for centre-back Shane Duffy (Brighton), forward Mohamed Elyounoussi (Southampton) and left-back Diego Laxalt, who arrived from AC Milan on Monday’s deadline day.

There were some who got away – most notably fans’ favourite Fraser Forster who elected to continue as a reserve at Southampton – but, overall, Lennon was delighted with the work done in a difficult marketplace in trying circumstances throughout the world.

The Hoops boss paid tribute to Head of Recruitment Hammond and his unsung heroes who played their part in piecing together the Celtic jigsaw in a monumental season for the club.

Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Nick has done a great job. The recruitment team worked so hard over the lockdown period and throughout the summer.

“He has had to totally restructure that department and the amount of work that’s gone into it has been tremendous.

WELCOME TO PARADISE…new Bhoy Diego Laxalt shows off the colours after his deadline-day arrival.

“Nick has kept his eye on a lot of deals and to get some of them done has been fantastic.

“You look at Duffy, Laxalt, Barkas. Turnbull is a great young talent. We have a good mix of experience and youth and real quality.

“There is a bit of youthful exuberance in the squad. We identified the areas we wanted to strengthen and we did it.

“We’ve tidied up the squad, too. Some have left and others have gone on loan to get games.

“We’ve brought in some real quality and allied to that, we’ve kept all our main assets.”

Hoops key men such as Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie were linked with other teams over the period and the Hoops hierarchy rejected two late bids for Olivier Ntcham.

Lennon added: “It’s really good business from our point of view and it shows the intent the board has for this season and seasons to come.

“Any interest we had in our players was totally rebuffed. We did have some interest in Olivier, but there was nothing appealing at all.

“It was clear from Friday we weren’t going to let anyone out the door. The club has been true to their word on that. It’s been a very exciting re-boot for us.”

 
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