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Name Neil Lennon
Gender Male
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Job xxxx Football Coach
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Org xxxx National Team
Club as Coach Celtic [Head Coach]
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2019 04 27 Retrieve

[Although Celtic cannot win the league on Sunday after being held to a scoreless draw by Hibs last weekend, they can close to within a point of the title and manager Neil Lennon said his troops are eager to seal a third successive domestic treble in McNeill’s memory] With this in the background, it makes it even more significant. The players will be highly motivated on two fronts now. We’re a club in mourning. Billy McNeill was Celtic. He was an icon, a hero. My image of Billy will always be him stood on that podium in Lisbon, this Adonis in a green and white shirt holding the cup. I can’t put into words how big a loss he is for this club

2019 05 04 Retrieve

[Celtic title win Neil Lennon’s ‘toughest’ job yet] It’s 11 games unbeaten but it doesn’t feel like it at times, with some of the criticism that comes at us. But you have to ignore that, stay focused, and they’ve done an amazing job, the players. It’s been really, really tough. It’s been the toughest piece of management I’ve had to do. I know on the outside people think it looks easy but it’s been difficult going in on my own. There was a lot of discontent around the club and a bit of agitation but the players have helped me and I’d like to think I’ve helped them. It’s a real privilege to be here as interim manager or any kind of manager on championship day. It’s very special

[Lennon paid tribute to his predecessor Rodgers, who won back-to-back titles in just under three years at Celtic Park, and credited his players for keeping their cool in a week when they attended the funeral of club legend Billy McNeill] ‘s a wonderful moment for the club and great moment for the players and the supporters because they’re the most important people. The players were fantastic once again. They give me the heebie jeebies sometimes with the way they play and take chances. I have to pay tribute to Brendan. I have to pay a huge amount of credit to him for this title success because of the foundations that he’s built here. I was lucky enough to carry it on so it’s a great moment for me personally and for my family. It just felt right this week. We kept really calm, with all the emotions this week of Billy’s funeral. There’s a lot of negativity at times surrounding us and I’ve had to listen to a lot of fake news, but the players have done really well

2019 08 22 Retrieve

[Fraser Forster has re-joined Celtic on a season-long loan from Southampton] Fraser was available, he knows the club and we know him. He had a wonderful time here the first time. He’s still only 31 so he’s still at his peak

2019 11 12 Retrieve

[Neil Lennon was the manager who brought Van Dijk to the UK from Groningen in 2013] He’s the best in the world. He went on this dribble. He went past a couple and thought ‘I’m gonna hit this’. He was about 45 yards out, and it hit the bar and bounced out way beyond the box. I was like ‘that’s our centre-half there’, you know?

[Lennon remembers wondering ‘Where’s the catch?’ after his scouting team had brought him a 15-minute compilation of Van Dijk’s best bits at Groningen] Straight away, I was thinking ‘Rio Ferdinand’.

2020 02 03 Retrieve

[Neil Lennon was glowing in his assessment of Ryan Christie after Celtic’s 4-1 win against Hamilton Academical at the weekend] His energy’s fantastic, his enthusiasm’s fantastic but more than anything it’s his quality. The quality of the ball for the second goal is De Bruyne-esque. Having Ryan back after being out for almost a month is such a bonus for us. Tom Rogic came on and did a great job, Jonny Hayes did a great job, but Ryan’s having a fantastic season and we’ll see more of him as it goes on

2020 02 07 Retrieve

[Celtic manager Neil Lennon believes the form of striker Odsonne Edouard makes him a candidate to play for France at Euro 2020] It would be a huge shot in the arm for him. A huge boost. Confidence always does a player the world of good. I’m sure they are monitoring him very closely. His record with the French Under-21s is excellent. But they are the World Cup winners and have such strength in depth, so I don’t know. He’s scored in Old Firm games, cup finals and Europe. He’s done all of it. The form he is in is really helping the team. But his record in the big games is outstanding.

It’s inevitable he will attract interest. I don’t want to talk about that - I’m in a good mood! He could play in most top leagues and for most top teams, no problem at all. His potential is massive. He’s not only done it at domestic level, he’s done it at European level as well. A price tag? Don’t even ask me. Leave him be! Listen, we know he’s not going to be here forever but you’ll have to ask the board what their price on it is

[Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Moussa Dembele] I never had the luxury or the opportunity of working with Moussa but I really liked him as a player. He was powerful, really strong and quick, a good goalscorer. Eddie is very similar but they are different types. Moussa was more of a target type, if you want to call him that, but he could go in behind as well. Eddie can do a bit of both, he can drop deep and play off the shoulder.

There’s always comparisons between players but I’m just delighted with the way he is playing and I’m delighted to be able to work with him. But it would not be fair to say one is better than the other. They are different personalities. You can see by the way he is playing he is happy and his representatives are pretty happy with the way things are going. He’s really quiet, he doesn’t give much away. But he’s a lovely boy. He looks happy. He’s just in a good place and is playing brilliant football. I’m really enjoying working with him and he is very easy to manage. We have a good relationship and I just want that to continue. At 22, he’s only going to get better

2020 02 14 Retrieve

[Odsonne Edouard: Celtic’s unstoppable force could soon be starring in the Premier League] He’s just magnificent. He was magnificent all night but second half some of his link-up play, his passing, and his finishing was just world class. He’s just an unbelievable player. Odsonne’s just a special talent

He has got that aura about him. He can play up on his own or can drop into the spaces and pockets. He’s got good feet, his link up play is getting a lot better which is really important for him. His goal tally already is fantastic

[Neil Lennon believes France National Team’s recognition is not out of the question] I’m sure they are monitoring him very closely. He’s a formidable scorer

2020 03 03 Retrieve

[Celtic boss Neil Lennon hopes Odsonne Edouard stay] I’d love to keep him. I’d give him a five-year deal tomorrow if I could, but I don’t know anything about that and I would know [if there were talks]. But, if it’s true, then brilliant. He’s improving all the time. He’s a talismanic player for us and he’s been absolutely magnificent this season but I think there’s more to come from him and I hope he’s doing that here with us. I definitely think there’s improvement in him. He can get better but he’s already a highly talented player. I think he’d be better off here. I’m sure there’s plenty of suitors so it won’t be down to my decision but I’ll do all I can to keep him. He’s not the type to be banging down your door. He seems quite happy

Odsonne’s laid back. He’s got 27 goals already this season and I think he can get to 30 comfortably and that would be a wonderful season for him but it’s not just his goals, his all-round game has been absolutely superb

2020 03 28 Retrieve

[Celtic manager Neil Lennon says Celtic players are like caged animals] They’re like caged animals. These are young, fit men who are used to an almost regimented way of living. Their routine is training and playing. All of that is gone. Some of them will be cooking for themselves for the first time in their lives. Mentally, the change can put a strain on them. They are used to intensity and suddenly it’s not there. We are very aware of the mental [health] side of this. We all need to keep our well-being in order. As long as I can get out and get some exercise for my own peace of mind then I’m fine. The silence is deafening when you go out for a walk. The place is deserted. We just have to ride it out as best we can. We are all in the same boat

I’m really missing football. I’m missing the players, the staff, the games, the colour, the noise, but it is no bad thing to take a moment and appreciate what you’ve got. I think football will mean a lot more to a lot of people when it returns. What I’m seeing now is us going back to our roots, going back to community life with people looking out for each other and maybe we hadd gone away from that. What is happening is tragic but everybody is pulling together to try to get through it and that is brilliant

2020 04 10 Retrieve

[Celtic players and management take ‘significant salary reduction’ amid coronavirus crisis] This club is all about teamwork and solidarity, on and off the park. We are well aware of the economic realities and are very willing to play our part in recognising them. We will come through this in unity and then look forward to the challenges ahead. We also know that many within society, including our own support, are facing distress and, in some cases, tragedy. Everyone at Celtic Football Club, including the players and my own backroom team, expresses our appreciation of the work being done by NHS staff, carers and all who are providing vital public services at this time

2020 05 18 Retrieve

[Lennon revels in Celtic’s ‘best’ title triumph after coronavirus ends Scottish Premiership season] To be sitting here now as the manager of the nine in a row, and having played a huge part in that, fills me with so much pride. It feels wonderful and I’m so proud of the players. It’s an incredible record and to be part of that is something very special, and I think it’s thoroughly deserved as well. It’s the best, no question it’s the best and I’ve enjoyed the season immensely. I enjoyed the European campaign and winning the League Cup and I enjoyed working with the players every day, I enjoyed working with my staff. Whether you look at the first half of the season or the second half of the season, we’ve played some brilliant football throughout, and then you throw in the European campaign, you throw in the League Cup. A lot of that gets overlooked with all that’s been going on around Scottish football of late. The style of play pleased me, the amount of goals pleased me, and we had massive contributions from numerous individual players as well

2020 06 07 Retrieve

[Neil Lennon has revealed that Celtic are in talks with rumoured Arsenal target Odsonne Edouard over a contract extension, while praising him as a top-class striker] There are discussions at the minute with his [Edouard’s] representatives. Ultimately he’s a player we want around. He’s a fantastic player. He’s really blossomed over the last couple of seasons. He had a magnificent season this year and we want to keep him. It’s as simple as that. We’re doing everything we can to keep him here for at least another season anyway. I think he is [happy]. I think he’s got a fantastic relationship certainly with me and my backroom team and his team-mates. You can see how much the supporters appreciate him as well. I think that’s reciprocated. He’s grown into a top-class striker. Of course, there is going to be speculation around a player of that quality. But we’re comfortable at the minute with the position we’re in with him

2020 06 20 Retrieve

[Celtic manager Neil Lennon has passed comment on the future of Odsonne Edouard, the club’s much-coveted forward player] Will there be bids for Odsonne? I don’t know. There’s been no bids for anyone at the minute, which is pleasing because I want to maintain the continuity

2020 06 15 Retrieve

[Neil Lennon says he saw similarities between Virgil van Dijk and ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand when he arrived at Celtic in 2013] He was Rio Ferdinand in the making. He had all of those attributes - he was quick, composed, brilliant in the air in both boxes. Everything you’re seeing now, at Premier League and European level, that’s what I saw. I couldn’t believe there was no English interest. I also couldn’t believe he was at Celtic for two seasons! I thought he might have gone after the first. I like finding players under the radar. Van Dijk is the standout example. He goes for £12m to Southampton, then £75m to Liverpool, and now he’s probably the best centre-half in the world. We take pride in that. We take pride in Kieran Tierney going to Arsenal for £25m. There is a lot of untapped natural talent here. Ideally, you’d love to hold on to these players because then we’d have a strong chance of achieving something in Europe.

2020 07 06 Retrieve

[Fraser Forster: Celtic chasing new goalkeeper after talks go cold] We are looking at other options. There was a deal [for Forster] agreed between the clubs but it’s gone quiet from the player’s side of things. We would dearly love him back here but if that’s not going to be the case then we’ll look elsewhere. We’re looking at a number of options on the goalkeeping front. It’s such an important position and Fraser did wonderful things for us last season. We’ve got big gloves to fill if you want to put it that way but ideally we’ll try to get an exceptional number one in again

[Lennon admits the current closed-door restrictions are frustrating his attempts to sniff out fresh recruits] It’s different. A bit fragmented obviously. We’ll probably get a fairer idea of the transfer market once the Premier League and other main leagues in Europe finish. But it’s been predominantly business as usual. We’ve got a lot of options for a lot of positions. The difficult thing is we can’t look at players live at the minute.

2020 07 06b Retrieve

[Lennon: 10th title would be monumental] We’re very excited. It’s great to have the players back the last few weeks. It’s a big season for us domestically and on the European front as well. We’ve got to just take it as the next title really. For some of the players that will come it will be the first, for some it will be the 10th, but we have to keep a balance and just say ‘look this is the next challenge to win’. There’s going to be a lot of hype surrounding it from the outside and we’ve just got to find our levels and our consistency as quickly as we possibly can. It is monumental what we’re going for but we can’t let that distract us from playing the games, and not looking too far ahead.

2020 07 17 Retrieve

[Neil Lennon blasts Leigh Griffiths for returning to Celtic overweight] I’m not happy. I think that’s fairly obvious by the fact that we’ve left him behind. He’s come back out of condition and overweight. Any physical work we asked him to do, he was coming out of saying he was injured. That’s going to be the case because he’s out of condition. It would have been absolutely pointless bringing him with us. We had an extensive week in Loughborough and he wouldn’t have been fit to play the games here. The ball is firmly in his court in terms of getting in the right condition. He needs to stop all the social media nonsense with all these slogans he puts out there. The boys here are all top professionals and I have a great staff who are all professional as well. They deserve better and he should know better. If he wants to have a future here at the club, it’s down to himself. We’re not prepared to do a lot more for him. Everything’s there for him. He’s let himself down and he’s let us down