I want the Celtic job for keeps, says Lennon

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The Independent Football

Celtic's caretaker manager Neil Lennon said yesterday that he wants to manage the Glasgow club on a permanent basis.

The former Hoops midfielder has taken over at Parkhead until the end of the season following Thursday's sacking of Tony Mowbray, hours after the humiliating 4-0 defeat at St Mirren. "Yes, I do want the job for keeps – everyone knows what this club means to me," Lennon said. "It is a wonderful opportunity for me. Obviously I am coming in in difficult circumstances but I have a job to do between now and the end of the season."

Lennon also revealed that Mowbray had urged him to fill the vacancy, with Celtic 10 points behind the SPL leaders Rangers having played two games more.

Lennon spoke to Mowbray and his predecessors, Martin O'Neill and Gordon Strachan, both of whom the Irishman played under. Asked what advice he was given by the trio, Lennon said jokingly: "Don't do it!"

"No, not at all. I spoke to Martin O'Neill, spoke to Gordon Strachan and spoke to Tony about it. They all said what a great job it is, that it was a wonderful opportunity for me and that I would regret it if I didn't take it. I think it is an absolute privilege. I don't think anything prepares you for being a manager of the Old Firm.

"Yes, I have been here 10 years but you can [be] the most experienced manager in the world and still find it difficult here. I had difficult periods as a player, with things off the field. But I know the pressure that comes with the job and I know the Scottish scene and that is of benefit to me more than anything else." Celtic host second-from-bottom Kilmarnock today. Rangers visit Hearts.