Lennon ready for special moment

NEIL LENNON admits it will be a “special moment” for him when he leads out Celtic ahead of today’s Scottish Cup final against Motherwell at Hampden Park.

Lennon, in his first full season as Hoops manager, was serving a touchline ban for the Co-operative Insurance Cup final against Rangers in March and had to sit in the stand as the Light Blues won 2-1 after extra-time.

Asked how much he was looking forward to walking out along with Fir Park boss Stuart McCall at the showpiece occasion, the former Celtic skipper joked: “It will make a pleasant change,” then added: “It will be a precious moment in my time here as a player, coach and now manager.

“The cup final is a very special occasion, and we haven’t been there for a few years. It will be a nice moment for me but it will not detract away from concentrating on what we have to do.

“We haven’t been to the final since 2007. It’s an important competition for the players and supporters and the backroom staff as well.”

Lennon believes his players deserve to get something from the season in which they also lost out on the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title to Rangers by just one point.

“I would be disappointed (if we end up with nothing),” he said. “We have played very well this season and our recent form is very good.

“There is disappointment that we have not won the title but we have a cup to win and it’s a game we are all looking forward to it.’’

Lennon’s cup final press conference, however, was dominated by questions about his future. He became slightly irritated when in asked, in various ways, whether his current six-month rolling contract would be improved and/or extended and whether the result against Motherwell would make a difference to the board’s decision.

“I don’t know if that decision has been made or if tomorrow will have that effect on it one way or the other,” he said.

“It will be a decision that the board will discuss with me or among themselves. I am on a six-month rolling contract and until I’m told otherwise I will be the manager. You have asked me all these questions today and you have asked me them all season.’’

Lennon was also tetchy in confirming that striker Anthony Stokes is back in contention. The former Hibernian player was left out of the match against the Steelmen at Celtic Park last week after an incident at the team hotel.

“He is in the squad,” the Hoops boss said. “He was (disciplined) yes, you all know that so I don’t know why you are asking me that. He has been disciplined on an internal matter. It was something I had to do.”

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