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Celtic boss Neil Lennon criticises Charlie Nicholas over Diego Laxalt comments

Neil Lennon File Photo
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Neil Lennon has criticised former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas for claiming Diego Laxalt’s move from AC Milan was a cheap option for the Scottish champions.

The 27-year-old Uruguay international joined the Hoops on the last day of the transfer window on a season-long loan.

Nicholas, who had two spells at Celtic, said Lennon would be “pretty annoyed” but the Northern Irishman, named Premiership manager of the month for September, was having none of it.

“How would Charlie know the dealing we have with AC Milan?” Lennon said, after revealing winger James Forrest had suffered a stress fracture of the ankle.

“Listen, if we were to sign (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Charlie still would have found fault with it. He’s been negative about the club for years.

“We switch off to it. I’m not aware of it. I woke up this morning absolutely delighted with a squad of players that we got and certainly with the Laxalt signing.

“We’ve come out of the window very strong. People can throw stones at the club, there’s no merit, there’s no foundation, there’s no substance to it.

“We’ve kept all our best players. We kept Odsonne Edouard, we kept Kristoffer Ajer, we kept Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor, all these players who are big assets to the club.

“And that’s been a difficult thing to do. We’ve also added international quality in players who have bedded in straight away.

“Vasilis Barkas has done a great job, Shane Duffy has been exceptionally good, David Turnbull is a great young talent, he will flourish here.

“I could go on and on about the players that we signed and I’m thrilled to get Laxalt over the line as well.

“So, Charlie doesn’t speak for me, he doesn’t think for me, and to be honest with you, it doesn’t resonate one bit here.”

The former Hoops skipper admits the comments are all the more annoying coming from an ex-Celtic player.

Lennon said: “There’s too many ex-Celtic players over the years who have constantly been trying to create this negative narrative around the club.

“We are absolutely flying. We’re winning all our games and we’ve won 11 trophies in a row.

“We’re not selling anyone. Normally over the years, we sold (Moussa) Dembele, (Kieran) Tierney and other players but in this window we kept them all.

“That’s credit to the board, it shows how strong we are at the minute.”

Lennon revealed he tried to get Laxalt last year after being impressed with his performances in the 2018 World Cup.

He said: “He’s very good defender and he’s got great quality on the ball.

“He had an outstanding World Cup playing in a very good Uruguayan team with great players and he looked very comfortable in that company.

“We tried to get him in this time last year but couldn’t do it.

“But I’ve been a big admirer of his for a long time so to get that deal over the line is fantastic business by the board.

“The player looks really happy to be here having spoken to him last night and he will add more quality and inspiration to the team.”