Celtic boss Lennon eyeing reinforcements but not planning ‘sweeping changes’

Neil Lennon is poised to follow up months of preparation in the transfer market after being confirmed as Celtic manager.

Lennon’s future only became apparent when he was offered the job after Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup final triumph, and a 12-month rolling contract took a further six days because of a pre-planned holiday.

But the former Celtic captain has been working on summer plans with chief executive Peter Lawwell from soon after he stepped in to replace Brendan Rodgers on a short-term basis in late February.

“There’s been work going on behind the scenes for the last few weeks regardless of whether I was going to be here,” Lennon said. “That was my job, and it still is now.”

A number of players will depart this summer with Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic already gone, the future of the likes of free agent Mikael Lustig uncertain and speculation surrounding contracted players such as Olivier Ntcham.

But Lennon said: “It’s not going to be a huge sweeping change. There was a style of play I was unaccustomed to, and I was getting to know the players.

“Now we have time, now we stay calm and now we know what lies ahead ahead of us and the positions we want to fill in.”

When pressed on how big an overhaul the squad needs, Lennon said: “Whatever it takes to help us keep moving in the right direction. I don’t have a number of players, I can’t tell you who’s going to be leaving or coming in.

“But like every season at this stage you are looking to improve and that’s what we will endeavour to do.”

Celtic do not have a head of recruitment after Lee Congerton joined Rodgers at Leicester earlier this month.

Previous incumbent John Park has been linked with a reunion with Lennon but Lawwell vowed the club would take their time to fill the post.

“We are working on that,” Lawwell said. “We want to keep calm, and don’t rush and make the wrong appointment too quickly.

“We will sit down, look at the structure of the football side of the club, which will include head of recruitment, and then go out to the market and possibly do that. We will set about that task now.”

Lawwell also kept his cards close to his chest when asked about the scale of the rebuilding job.

“You’ll be fed up hearing me say this but every transfer window we want to come out stronger,” he said. “We will do all we can within our financial constraints.

“We realise the squad needs freshened, it probably needs strengthened.

“We have actually been working on it since February in terms of options in terms of enquiries for players. So we have been planning ahead for that period of time and we know the direction we want to go in in particular positions.

“Our objective is to continue to dominate in Scotland, to get back into the Champions League and go as far as we possibly can, and for that we need the right people, the right management and the right players.”

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