NEIL Lennon is still on course to agree a new contract with Celtic before tomorrow night’s return match against Elfsborg – something that would ensure everyone at the club is in an ideal frame of mind as they prepare to defend a 1-0 lead from the home leg, according to captain Scott Brown.
“The manager signing a new deal would be a boost for every- body at the club – the players and the fans,” Brown said yesterday. “He enjoys the job – he loves coming in every morning and looks fresh.
“He’s great to work under. He wants us to get the ball down and play. I’m not saying we are Barcelona, but he wants to get as close to that philosophy as possible.
“He enjoys the training. He joined in the training game the other day and still wants to play. He passes on everything he did in his career to us. It’s great working under him.”
At 28, Brown is old enough to have played against Lennon, and he admitted he did not always see as eye to eye with his fellow midfielder as he does now. “Our relationship has definitely changed since we played against each other. Back then, it was a hate/hate relationship.”
The Scottish champions, who fly out to Sweden today, have Kris Commons to thank for that narrow lead against Elfsborg from the first leg of the Champions League third-round qualifier. They had to bide their time at Parkhead before the former Scotland international grabbed the winner on the night with a header around 15 minutes from time, and Brown believes the collective patience they showed then stems from the belief shown in the team by Lennon.
“Everyone in the team has their own job and the gaffer makes sure we know that,” he added. “He puts a lot of faith in us; we express ourselves on the pitch and enjoy it.”
Lennon suggested after Celtic’s 2-1 win at home to Ross County on Saturday that agreeing a new contract was all but a formality. “I am hoping to get that finished off before Wednesday,” he said. “I have been talking to [Celtic chief executive] Peter Lawwell about that. It hasn’t been a major issue for me, because things haven’t changed that much.
“The club did look after me last season and have been true to their word. I’m pretty secure with that.”