Lennon is the man to give life to Bhoys

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The Independent Football

Neil Lennon's reinvigoration of Celtic has been abrupt. As a midfielder at Parkhead, he was a source of tenacity, and often indignation if standards fell or opponents were confrontational. As a manager, he has revealed his desire to succeed, and is such a compelling individual that he incites a response.

He stepped into the breach after a 4-0 defeat to St Mirren condemned Tony Mowbray. The team had fallen into a deep sense of angst and Lennon, who was managing the reserves, had to assume control for last Saturday's visit of Kilmarnock. Celtic were bold and defiant in winning 3-1, but then Lennon's personality is so commanding that a reaction was inevitable.

"Celtic Park is not an intimidating place for teams just now and we want to restore that. It pains me to say but when teams go to Ibrox, Rangers are very strong. To have any chance of winning championships you have to make the most of your home advantage," he says.

This season's title is effectively beyond Celtic, but the imperative for Lennon is to restore credibility.

Celtic have been linked with Mark Hughes, Nigel Pearson, Craig Levein and Paul Lambert, but with a Scottish Cup semi-final next Saturday against Ross County and seven League games, including today's trip to Hibernian, Lennon can make a persuasive case for himself.

"It doesn't bother me in the slightest," says Lennon about the speculation. "The club are duty-bound to look at other candidates but it is an opportunity I couldn't turn down. I want the job."