Neil Lennon: Celtic need 'more power in team' and must spend to compete in Champions League next season

Neil Lennon maintains his old club Celtic will require to go large in the transfer market in more ways than one to give his successor Ange Postecoglou the best possible chance of making an impact in the Champions League next season.

The Irishman, fresh from leading current club Omonia Nicosia to Greek cup success in midweek, believes bulking up and also replacing the departed Tom Rogic will be crucial over the summer for a Celtic he led to the Champions League knock-out stages in 2012.

Lennon is full of praise for fluent, fleet-footed football patented by Postecoglou as the Australian regained the title following Celtic’s fragmentation that led to his departure midway through a failed attempt to land a record 10th title. But, the 50-year-old cautions that the altogether more onerous demands placed on them by participation at the elite level of club football necessitate that they part with their pounds to push up the power in the club’s squad..

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“They'll need to spend,” he said of how Postecoglou prepares Celtic for a return to the competition’s group stages for the first time in four years during an interview with BBC Sportsound.

“They need a bit more power in their team. I think they need another centre-forward to play through the middle and a bit more physicality in the team. They are small but they are quick and dynamic players and they use the ball really well, but when you take that huge step up from Scottish football to European football, I do think they'll need a little bit more strength in depth for sure.

“Losing [Tom] Rogic is a blow because he is a mercurial player so they might need a number 10 type to augment what they already have in midfield. But they've got the potential now to spend some decent money because you get a huge windfall from being in the Champions League. It will be fantastic for Ange for his own development. He's already done great things in Australia, Japan and now Scotland, but to take that step into the Champions League, he should be really looking forward to it.”

Lennon confesses it was “fascinating” to watch the struggle for league supremacy in Scotland unfold from a detatched viewpoint for one of the few times in the past two decades. And while he has nothing but admiration for Postecoglou’s rebuild and subsequent championship and Premier Sports Cup success, he does consider that the final table betrayed a soft underbelly in the top flight beyond the Glasgow clubs.

“I think the club have backed him really well,” he said of the current Celtic manager. “They sold some players who wanted to go, which was important, and then Ange brought in some really good players, but they needed time to settle in. Their domestic form from September onwards has been fantastic. The two games where they beat Rangers, the one in February then the big one at Ibrox, were pivotal in them winning the league, but they played some brilliant football. Rangers have been really strong. I think the draws probably cost them in the league but they finished the season really well.

Former Celtic manager Neil Lennon says the club will need to spend in the transfer market this summer to compete in next season's Chanpions League. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“Overall, it was fascinating being on the outside looking in watching the title race unfold but outside the big two I didn't think the quality was that great. It might be because of post-covid. I'm looking at Dundee United finishing in fourth place but they only had 48 points. When Kilmarnock and Hibs were going at it a few years ago we [Hibs] finished fourth with 67 points. The quality maybe wasn't there beneath the big two this season but it was still fascinating watching the two of them going at it.”



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