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LENNY POISED FOR CLEAR-OUT

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NEIL LENNON is already gearing up for a massive Celtic rebuild with the club’s first Champions League qualifier due in seven weeks’ time.

The comeback gaffer, 47, was offered the manager’s job on a full-time basis in the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s Scottish Cup Final triumph over Hearts at Hampden.

Lennon had to hit the ground running in February after the swift exit of Brendan Rodgers for Leicester City at a crucial stage of the campaign.

He guided the team to their eighth successive title after losing just one of his 11 Premiership games in charge and also piloted the club through the national competition minefield to beat Hibs 2-0 in the quarter-final at Easter Road, Aberdeen 3-0 in the last four at Hampden and 2-1 over Craig Levein’s side in the showpiece shoot-out at the national stadium.

However, Lennon accepted a clear-out is on its way and acknowledged work needs to be done immediately.

Dedryck Boyata is already heading for Hertha Berlin, forgotten man Scott Allan agreed a pre-contract with Hibs in January and Mikael Lustig, Emilio Izaguirre and Cristian Gamboa are all out of contract next week.

On top of that, Timothy Weah returned to Paris Saint-Germain when Lennon cut his loan deal short and Filip Benkovic (Leicester City), Jeremy Toljan (Borussia Dortmund) and Oliver Burke (West Brom) will be returning to their parent clubs with their temporary transfers coming to an end.

FINAL FAREWELL…Filip Benkovic holds aloft the Scottish Cup in what could be his last act as a Celtic player.

The Irishman, speaking to Scotland on Sunday, admitted: “There’s a good core there, lots on long-term contracts that’s great. There will be personnel leaving and coming in.

“It may be a short holiday, there’s a process in work at the minute that we’ve identified some players. Hopefully, we can get some freshness and quality in the squad as soon as possible.

“You could see today, they are cramping and tugging at muscle injuries. It is a monumental effort to do what they’ve done over three years. I don’t know how many games they have played domestically and in Europe.

“I’d like us to be a bit more on the front foot attacking-wise, not maybe use the goalkeeper as much. I know we use the sweeper keeper a lot these days, but build the team around my centre-forwards, as well.

“Odsonne Edouard has carried the flame brilliantly and did it again today, we’ve had one fit centre-forward in the building since I’ve come in and he’s taken on that responsibility magnificently and this was another big show from him in a big game. He’s put himself in the annals of the club’s history.

“I like him a lot, his temperament and his quality is fantastic.”

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