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NEIL Lennon appears to be entering the last chance saloon as Celtic boss in today's Scottish Cup Final against Hearts at Hampden Park.


NEIL Lennon appears to be entering the last chance saloon as Celtic boss in today's Scottish Cup Final against Hearts at Hampden Park.

With the match finally being played in the final days of 2020 after it was initially postponed in May due to the Covid-19 crisis, Lennon has a chance to reboot his Celtic career after a run of results that led many to conclude he needed to be replaced.

On a day when he gets a chance to guide Celtic to a fourth consecutive domestic treble, Lennon accepts the time for excuses are over as he hopes his side rise to the challenge to creat e piece of history.

Treble

"We know what's at stake," he stated. "It's a game we dearly want to win for so many reasons. The gravity of the achievement is not beyond us.

"It's important for us to try and complete the quadruple treble, which will probably never be seen again. It's really important for me personally.

"As a manager, it would be my first treble and for the players to finish off what's been a magnificent four years for the club."

While Celtic have lost just one Premiership game this season, a succession of damaging draws and some chastening experiences in the Europa League have piled the pressure on Lennon.

Wins against Lille and Kilmarnock in their most recent two matches may have turned down some of the heat that was threatening to start a fire under Lennon's second reign as Celtic manager.

Yet a run that saw them win just two and lose six of the 12 matches prior to those recent wins means Lennon's stock with Celtic fans has never been lower ahead of today's clash with second tier club Hearts.

Lennon held meetings with the Celtic hierarchy in recent weeks that could have ended with his exit from the club, but there was a feeling that he was being allowed to continue to take charge of the Scottish Cup Final and now he needs to deliver.

"In my first spell, in the second season, we were going through a similar sort of run and we had had a really good season the season before," Lennon added.

"Do you radically change your training methods and radically change the way you approach things? We didn't do it at that stage and we went on a great run.

"The last two results have really lifted the group and the club as a whole. I don't think we panicked.

"I've got evidence that the processes and the philosophy's right and my own demeanour with the players hasn't changed.

"If you start showing cracks in your own demeanour, players pick up on that.

"You may never convince some of the doubters.

"We've won four trophies," added Lennon.

"This is a potential fifth. I've got the evidence to back up that I can do the job.

"The majority of the fans are with us and there's unity there. We understand the frustrations of some of the fans as well."

Sunday World


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