Lennon new head Bhoy as Trap move denied

CELTIC chairman John Reid yesterday strenuously denied Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni or anyone else had been sounded out about the manager’s job at Parkhead before insisting Neil Lennon was the only credible candidate.

The Irishman was finally confirmed as boss at Parkhead yesterday after an interim spell as manager following the departure of Tony Mowbray in March.

However, last month Trapattoni was quoted as saying: “It was not the Celtic chairman, but someone close to him, close to the club, a former player, who approached me three to four months ago and asked would I be interested in a position.”

But Reid yesterday said: “I’m not going to comment on any individuals other than to say this: no-one with any authority from this club has spoken to or offered the job of manager to anyone. Indeed, no-one has been spoken to about the job apart from Neil Lennon. I can give you that absolute assurance.”

Despite the time taken to confirm Celtic’s former skipper as their new boss, Reid insists Lennon was the only man for the post.

“We have taken some time to confirm Neil as manager,” he said.

“That should be a source of strength and not of doubt. This is a great club and it faces great challenges and the truth is we are appointing Neil after the most careful thought, deliberation and scrutiny.

“The truth is also that if this was just a matter of the heart rather than our heart and head, Neil would have been appointed within an hour of the vacancy arising because in our hearts we really wanted Neil Lennon to be our manager.

“We don’t have to rehearse why, he’s been a great player, a great captain and a great coach and a great part of Celtic for so many years.

“But because it is such a big challenge we wanted to make sure that we did it with more than our heart.

“We asked Neil to undertake the end of season games, it was a challenge and he took the challenge and the record speaks for itself. He did his talking on the park.’’

For his part, Lennon wants his Celtic players to “go to war” next season to wrest the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title back from Old Firm rivals Rangers.

The 38-year-old former Celtic captain, who will be on a one-year rolling contract, wants his men fired up for the task ahead of them.

“What I want to do is bring is the thunder back,” said Lennon.

“I want this place rocking again. I want the passion, I want the noise.

“I want the fans to be able to walk to the ground ready for it.

“I want the players to go to war every time they go on the pitch.

“We’ve got to put up a really stronger challenge to Rangers and try to wrest the title away from them.”

Lennon also confirmed his desire to bring Robbie Keane back to Parkhead.

The Republic of Ireland international spent the second half of the SPL campaign with the Bhoys on loan from Tottenham.

Keane proved his quality in Scotland with 12 league goals from 16 appearances, form that impressed Lennon.

Lennon has now confirmed he is looking to thrash out a deal with Spurs to secure him permanently,

“I’d love to have Robbie Keane back here. It’ll be his decision,’’ said Lennon. “Financially it’ll be a big decision for us if we can pull it off.

“He was wonderful (last season). He made a massive contribution. Not only on the field. He’s got those leadership qualities that I’m looking for. He has that quality that we’ve been lacking this year and a half or so.

“If it’s achievable then why not?’’

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