herald

Saturday 17 November 2018

Lennon flattered by backing for Scotland job

Hibs boss Neil Lennon
Hibs boss Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon admits it is "flattering" to be linked to the vacant Scotland manager's job.

Michael O'Neill was heavily touted to be the next boss at Hampden, but pulled out of the running following talks with the Scottish Football Association.

Brendan Rodgers has suggested the SFA should be looking to the Hibernian manager - who won three league titles as Celtic boss - as a potential successor to Gordon Strachan and Lennon did not rule himself out of the running.

"I thought he was my friend!" the Northern Irishman jokingly said of Rodgers' comments. If an approach comes, and it's a huge if, then we will deal with it accordingly but until then there's no further comment.

"It's very flattering from someone of Brendan's stature in the game and I appreciate the sentiment, but I am the Hibs manager."

The job remains an attractive one in the eyes of Lennon after an improved World Cup qualifying campaign under Strachan before it ultimately ended in failure. "I'm not speaking from a personal point of view, but it's a great job," he said. "I've said it before, but they should have kept Gordon on and there is progress being made.

"They targeted Michael and that has not come to fruition but I'm sure there will be plenty of other contenders for the job. It is a good job and there is no question of that."

Regardless of any interest in the Scotland job, Lennon will take his side to Celtic Park today without Anthony Stokes, whose future at the club remains uncertain.

Lennon ruled the striker, who has been linked with a move away following off-field disciplinary issues, out of the Celtic match while admitting Danny Swanson could also leave, with St Johnstone keen on taking him on loan.

"We brought him in to come and play," Lennon said of Swanson. "He has not contributed anywhere near enough due to unforeseen circumstances, but he wants to make his mark here.

"There is an opportunity for him to go and play elsewhere and that's down to Danny and we won't force it." Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has no fresh injuries for the visit of Hibernian in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday.

Marvin Compper (calf strain), Jonny Hayes (broken leg), Tom Rogic, Anthony Ralston (both knee), Stuart Armstrong (hernia operation) and Patrick Roberts (hamstring) remain out.

Striker Leigh Griffiths is pressing for a start after coming off the bench to score the decisive goal in the 2-1 win over Partick Thistle on Tuesday night.

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