THERE remains a chance Neil Lennon won’t be appointed Celtic manager on a full-time basis come the summer.
His appointment is not written in stone. He’ll be the favourite for all sorts of reasons. After all, he is doing the job right now.
But nothing is certain. Not in football.
I’ve heard a few comments among supporters in recent times along the lines off: “We love Lenny, but maybe it’s time to go with someone brand new.”
The Celtic support are split. My old captain, a club legend of course, is as popular as anyone at the club but there are some who, while thankful he stepped up when Brendan Rodgers left, would prefer a fresh start for when next season comes around.
I think everyone knows what I think of Neil. But I don’t make the big decisions at Celtic Park.
All the man can do is win the league and Scottish Cup. Do that and it would be difficult for them not to give him the job.
And all of this makes Sunday and the visit of Rangers even more interesting.
Neil will not want to give the board, when it comes to the big meeting, a chance to point out games which didn’t go his way,
and use that as excuse not to stick with him.
Beat Rangers,and beat them convincingly, wrap up the league within the next few weeks and then it’s the cup final – presuming they get past Aberdeen, which won’t be easy – then surely he gets the job.
If there are some inside Celtic Park who would like to go with someone brand new for next season, they will be left with a headache if the interim manager produces.
As always with Celtic, there is intrigue within intrigue.
Lennon will walk around his players this week, whispering in their ear, telling them how important it will be to go 13 points ahead, to kill off this Rangers title bid, if there still is one, stone dead.
And he will remind those who were at Ibrox on December 29 to remember how badly it felt to lose and lose to badly.
His message will be simple. Don’t let this happen again.
I know what it’s like to be in the dressing room. Scott Brown will be reminding his team what so-and-so was saying after the game, what was written in the newspapers or said on television.
Brown didn’t have his best day – I did feel some of the criticism was over the top – and there were a few who wrote him off, with some believing that he was on his way to Australia.
The captain, I am sure, will be a lot better this Sunday. Rangers will see the real Scott Brown at Parkhead.
Having Kieran Tierney back is key. Not only is he one of our best players and pivotal to what so much of the team does, it will also mean Callum McGregor starting in midfield and not at left-back, a decision which doesn’t make any more sense months later.
Tom Rogic has been missed and is now fit. There is nobody else quite like him, the way he can turn an opponent, his dribbling and shooting ability. The Australian loves playing against Rangers.
He’s had no game time for almost two months, but I wonder if Lennon will ask him to go out there for an hour and try to run the Rangers defence ragged as he has done so many times before.
Whatever team he goes with, Lennon needs to win. I think he will.