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TWO YEARS WITHOUT A TROPHY? LENNY REVEALS SACK FEARS

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NEIL LENNON admitted he would be facing the SACK if he he went two years without a trophy – like Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard.

Former Celtic team-mate Chris Sutton interviewed the Hoops gaffer in last night’s BT Sport’s one-hour long ‘9-In-A-Row’ tribute programme.

He asked if Lennon thought he would still be in a job if the trophy cabinet had remained bare since his return in February last year.

The Irishman answered: “Probably not, such is the nature of it in Glasgow and the expectation.

“I think there’s been a steady improvement in Rangers. They were really strong in the first half of the season, as we were.

“I think people take that for granted because we were getting pushed and we were responding every time.

“Then in the second half of the season, we responded even better, to the point that the teams around us couldn’t keep the pace and keep up with us.

MEDALLION MAN…Neil Lennon proudly sports last season’s Premiership title honour as he waves to fans.

“That’s something I don’t take lightly as it takes a certain mentality to do that – winning when everyone expects you to win, and when everyone is scrutinising every performance.

“These players have been doing that for a very long time now and it’s not easy.

“So, I need to pay enormous credit to the players for their ruthlessness and their mindset.”

Lennon continued: “At the turn of the year, when we lost to Rangers, that was a sore one. Rangers played well and competed well and we felt there was a title challenge on. I said that after the game.

“So, that was a great motivation for me and my staff to take it on. People were right to talk about a title challenge because it was nip and tuck between the two teams in that first half of the season.

“Whether they over- celebrated or not? I didn’t see the celebrations as I was up the tunnel. You have to take that one on the chin.”

The Hoops chief, who will be looking for a replacement for Damien Duff in the new campaign after the Dubliner agreed to become full-time assistant to Stephen Kenny at the Republic of Ireland, is now targeting the Champions League group stage next season when football resumes.

Lennon added: “It was really disappointing the way that we went out of the Champions League last season.

“After that, we just had to make the best of our Europa League campaign. We did that to a certain extent, although it was disappointing again the way we went out to Copenhagen.

“But, hopefully, that will set the players up for next season.

THAT’S MY BHOY…Neil Lennon with the Betfred League Cup and matchwinner Christopher Jullien.

“We have to take a lot out of our performances home and away, and I think there is more to come from the team.

“If we can just add one or two bits of quality to it, hopefully, we can make a go of the qualifiers.

“They are always difficult, those games, and we may have four rounds to negotiate again.

“But it’s two years now since we made the group stage, so that will be paramount in our thinking, coming back in for training on June 10.”

Lennon won his fourth successive honour since his comeback when the SPFL hierarchy awarded the Parkhead men their ninth consecutive title during the week.

The champions were leading the Premiership by 13 points with only eight games to play when football went into cold storage in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The gaffer also led the team to a Betfred League Cup success in December and had already guided the team ovr the line the previous season to clinch the flag and the Scottish Cup.

The team were due to face Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Easter Sunday as they eyed a phenomenal quadruple treble.

 
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