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STEIN, O’NEILL, RODGERS…AND LENNON?

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NEIL LENNON can join an exclusive band of Celtic managers at Hampden this afternoon. .

Only three team bosses have ever achieved a clean sweep of domestic trophies – Jock Stein twice (1966/67 and 68/69), Martin O’Neill (2000/01) and Brendan Rodgers twice (2016/17 and 2017/18).

Lennon can become the fourth member of the unique group of managerial greats if the Hoops can overcome Hearts in the delayed Scottish Cup Final this afternoon. Success would clinch the club’s twelfth consecutive silverware and complete the phenomenal quadruple treble.

The history books would also show the Irishman sealing his own personal piece of Hoops heritage with a title, League Cup and Scottish Cup triumph in the disrupted 2019/20 season.

Author Alex Gordon has chronicled Lennon’s progress in his latest Celtic book, ’50 Flags Plus One’, back to the December 10 in 2000 when the club’s £6million arrival from Leicester City made his debut in a 2-1 win over Dundee at Dens Park on the club’s way to their first domestic clean sweep in Martin O’Neill’s spectacular debut campaign.

Lennon, though, is not interested in personal glory as he prepares his squad for the showpiece showdown against Robbie Neilson’s Championship outfit who overcame city rivals Hibs 2-1 in the semi-final to play in their second successive silverware shoot-out in the national competition.

Two goals from Odsonne Edouard – one from the penalty spot – defeated the Tynecastle side 2-1 on May 25 last year in an anxious encounter where the Parkhead men annexed the unprecedented treble treble.

Now they can stage a remarkable action replay and Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “The gravity of the achievement is not beyond us and we want to go and complete the quadruple treble.

“To win a twelfth trophy in a row would probably never be seen again. Certainly not in my lifetime.

“It’s really important for me personally as a manager as it would be my first treble. And also for the players to finish off a great four years for the club.”

Lennon first tasted success in the Scottish Cup as a player five months after joining the club from Leicester City as the 29-year-old Northern Ireland international skipper.

It came against Alex McLeish’s Hibs side at sun-kissed Hampden when Jackie McNamara – an early substitute for the injured Lubomir Moravcik – rolled in the opening goal beyond keeper Nick Colgan.

Henrik Larsson then took centre stage to thump in two – one from the penalty spot – to wipe out the resistance from a spirited Easter Road outfit.

A delighted Lennon said: “It’s been unbelievable since I came up here. Honestly, I did not expect this to happen. Not at all. I thought I was coming up to join a team to give Rangers a run for their money in the league. We’ve surpassed everything that has been asked of us.”

Read the fascinating revelations in ’50 Flags Plus One’, the brand new Celtic book, which is only available at CQN Bookstore – and get ‘SEVILLE: The Celtic Movement’, rrp £18.99,  absolutely free.

* ‘CELTIC: 50 Flags Plus One’ celebrates the club’s remarkable fifty-one league championships in their glorious history. To order a copy – and get a FREE book, ‘Seville: The Celtic Movement’ – please go to: ‘CELTIC: 50 Flags Plus One’.

 
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