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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 9 August, 2020

It is not just about 10-in-a-row, says Neil Lennon

The Celtic manager is making long-term plans as the Scottish season restarts and insists the club wants to hang on to star striker, Odsonne Édouard.

Celtic are aiming for a historic 10th successive league title.
Celtic are aiming for a historic 10th successive league title.
Image: Jane Barlow

NEIL LENNON IS knocking on history’s door. Only twice before in Scottish football has a team chased a 10th straight league title, Celtic in 1975, Rangers in 1998.

So you kind of know where the narrative is going on this. Unless that is, your name is Neil Lennon. His job, he insists, isn’t just focused on delivering short-term goals but also on planning ahead.

“It’s not just about this season,” Lennon said. “It’s about the seasons after that in terms of developing young players, integrating players into the squad and bringing new ones in. This season, we are trying again to achieve Champions League group stage football which is going to be immensely difficult, but not beyond us. Then, defending all the domestic trophies as robustly as we can.

 “Everything doesn’t just stop at the end of this season if we achieve it. The club will go on and there are players here we want to bring through. We got [Vasilis] Barkas in and he needs a bit of adaptation time. We are excited about him coming in. Hopefully we will have one or two more.

“The main focus is the league, as it is every season. The priority is to win the title but it doesn’t just stop with this season. We look to go on again.”

The Celtic manager also maintains that the club can hold onto Odsonne Édouard, who he plans to start in tomorrow’s Premiership opener against Hamilton. He also hinted that he wants to add another forward to his squad.

 “In the last couple of years we have sold players for a lot of money — Moussa Dembélé and Kieran Tierney. It is always difficult when top-quality players go but we have been doing that for the last 10-12 years. There may be interest in one or two but we haven’t had any calls about any of them, which has been pleasing.

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“A striker is the most important position. We have had a few injuries and absentees in that department so if there is a quality one available and we think it’s the right thing to do, we will pursue it.”

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Garry Doyle

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