8 things Neil Lennon has to do as permanent Celtic manager

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Neil Lennon is set to be confirmed as the new Celtic boss in the coming days.

The Northern Irishman steered the club to the treble treble after taking over in an interim capacity following Brendan Rodgers' departure to Leicester City in February.

Neil Lennon is set to become the next permanent Celtic boss. Picture: SNS

Neil Lennon is set to become the next permanent Celtic boss. Picture: SNS

Confirmation that he had been offered the job on a permanent basis in the aftermath of the William Hill Scottish Cup win over Hearts was met by disgruntlement among Celtic fans.

Plenty can be written about the rights and wrongs of making Lennon the permanent boss, but with it appearing a certainty that he will accept the offer it is more appropriate to look forward to his second spell as the club's boss.

What does he need to do...

Decide who stays or goes

A number of loan players will return to their parent clubs after their time with Celtic, some already have. In addition, five players remain out of contract. PJ Crossan, Emilio Izaguirre, Dorus de Vries and Cristian Gamboa are all primed to move on. Doubt surrounds Mikael Lustig with the Swede offered a bumper contract in his homeland, while Lennon has confessed his love for the player.

Another year at Parkhead would not be out the question. He is a trusted lieutenant. Experienced on and off the pitch, he knows what it takes to play for the club and would be a fine squad player so it is understandable why Lennon wants him to stay.

A decision on Marvin Compper, Jack Hendry, Calvin Miller, Antony Ralston, Nir Bitton, Lewis Morgan and Youssouf Mulumbu will have to be made.

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Prove his worth in the transfer market

One of the reasons Peter Lawwell gave for appointing Lennon was his "great eye for a player". The Celtic chief also noted that the club don't need a "major rebuild". There will be a few people who disagree with the latter comment.

The club have yet to replace head of recruitment Lee Congerton, an individual who will not be missed by fans, so the responsibility will fall on Lennon and the scouting staff with "two or three" players already identified.

It was an aspect of Rodgers' tenure that could be said to have disappointed somewhat with the club doing some exceptional business during the ex-Hibs manager's previous spell.

READ MORE: ‘No major rebuild needed for Celtic’ says Peter Lawwell

Europe ready

One thing that Lawwell can't be criticised for his acting fast. Getting a permanent manager in place now gives the team a better chance of being ready for the Champions League qualifying slog.

Celtic will find their opponents for the first two qualifying rounds on 18 June with the first game taking place on either the 9th or 10th of July.

If the side were to reach the lucrative group stages it would mean a game every midweek until the end of August. And they have to be ready.

As witnessed last campaign, the club struggled to deliver the players Rodgers wanted and it left them short. The same can't happen again.

If Lennon can have the two or three players identified in for the start of the European campaign it would be a huge boost to their chances with a core of quality already in place.

Rest and recuperation, coupled with a pre-season to get them ready to hit the ground running is crucial, especially as Lennon stated on numerous occasions that his team were mentally and physically fatigued, such has been the number of matches they have played the past three seasons.

Leigh Griffiths

The 28-year-old didn't quite make his return to first-team football before the season came to an end but he did return to training.

With Lennon having dealt with his own mental health issues during his career he could be best placed to guide Griffiths back into football and to the high level he has operated at with Celtic.

Cliche it may be, but a fully fit and motivated Griffiths would be like a new signing, and an excellent one at that.

The maturity question

“He’s more experienced than when he was our manager first time around, a little more calmer, less emotional," Peter Lawwell said about Lennon.

When it comes to being on the sidelines during games, that is something which can be doubted, especially the "emotional" aspect. The type of character the Northern Irishman is it is hard for his emotion to be diluted.

A number of incidents and celebrations during his interim spell and time at Hibs dispel that notion.

These are the actions fans do what to see, their manager showing passion and feelings, rather than simply sitting in the dugout with little emotion.

Yet, there is the argument that such displays of intensity can cloud the judgement of what is happening on the field, when a more calm and rationale approach could be more beneficial to the team with in-game tweaks.

Win over doubters

Celtic fans are entirely reasonable in their desire for someone other than Neil Lennon to take the job.

They have been down the Lennon road before and been successful. He was the ideal steady hand to guide the team over the finishing line in the league and to Scottish Cup success.

However, in the eyes of many, his appointment is seen as a backwards step or at the best a lateral move.

A fresh face is most welcome by fans, but with Lennon such a legend, such a totemic figure at Parkhead a good, positive start will see him heralded.

Conversely, when/if there are stumbles along the way pressure will heighten further and doubts will increase.

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Positive football

To achieve universal backing from the Celtic support Lennon will have to get Celtic playing more exciting and attractive football than they have under him this campaign.

It is largely been one-paced and ponderous, the individual quality delivering decisive moments when it has mattered to win games late on, or simply that champion spirit.

Going forward there needs to be greater panache. Under Lennon, Hibs were exhilarating at times with an attacking midfield based around diminutive footballers.

With a number of young talented players emerging from the club's academy they can provide a winning team with a freshness and vibrancy.

Long-term vision

As well as looking at the here and now, Lennon needs to be part of a structure at he club with a look towards the future.

As mentioned there are a number of promising teenagers in and around the first-team who look like they have the potential to excite fans and make the step to the starting XI on a regular basis.

Away from that, there needs to be someone who oversees the football department. Previously Brendan Rodgers had the utmost control of the footballing side but we are in a time where a manager should not have the power of control of a club the size of Celtic.

Lennon has worked well with a director of football previously - George Craig at Hibs. It is not the done thing appointing a someone for such a role after the managerial vacancy has been filled but it can still work.

Having someone in such a role lessens the pressure and responsibility on the manager.

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