Lennon: Old Firm clashes "horrible"

Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon

First published in National Sport News © by

Neil Lennon watched his side cruise to a 3-0 win over Rangers at Parkhead then revealed the agonies of being the Celtic manager in an Old Firm game.

The Northern Irishman sat in the stand completing a touchline ban and he saw Charlie Mulgrew, Kris Commons and Gary Hooper score to gave Celtic a comfortable win in what could be the last Old Firm league meeting for several years, if administration-hit Rangers drop out of the SPL, a scenario that could unfold if the Govan club go into liquidation.

Afterwards, the former Celtic skipper spoke about the different take he has on the fixture from others. He said: "As a player you would miss them terribly. As a manager they are horrible. Honestly. There was no real pressure on the game but you are always apprehensive going into it."

He added: "I couldn't ask any more from the team. We played well but I don't buy into the tactical stuff, I got one over him and he got one over me. We just won the game and I am thrilled with that. But I don't want to see the back of them [Old Firm games], it really whets the appetite."

Lennon, though, is adamant that Rangers should be punished by the authorities for whatever misdemeanours they are found guilty of committing. The Ibrox club have appealed last week's decision by the Scottish Football Association to hit them with a 12-month ban on signing players as well as fines totalling £160,000 for breaching regulations.

Lennon said: "If you have flouted the laws in the capacity that they (Rangers) have then the powers-that-be will punish you accordingly. If you break the rules then you should expect to be punished."

Rangers boss Ally McCoist insists he is "not battle weary" of fighting for the future.

He is hopeful that Rangers' administrators, Duff and Phelps, will choose one of the two bids for the club, one of which has been tabled by the Blue Knights consortium, who have a new partner in Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy, the other from USA tycoon Bill Miller.

The former Gers striker said: "I was a bit deflated because of the result but believe me, I am not battle weary. I am ready to go again. We will all get our sleeves up and go again.

"[The takeover situation] was critical last week, all we can do is remain as positive as we possibly can. If you don't have hope, you don't have anything and I am still very hopeful and very positive but let's not shirk away from the issue - it's showtime."

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