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MJALLBY BACKS LENNON IN HOOPS GUESSING GAME

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JOHAN MJALLBY has urged Celtic to end the guessing game and opt for the safe option of Neil Lennon to become Brendan Rodgers’ full-time successor.

Names such as Roberto Martinez, Andre Villas-Boas and Michael O’Neill have been bandied around this week while the Irishman prepares his team for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen on Sunday.

Mjallby, who made 144 Hoops appearances and spent four years as Lennon’s assistant during his first stint as boss, insists his former team-mate is the best man for the job.

The ex-Swedish international defender, speaking to Sky Sports, said: “I’m quite sure the board are contemplating other names – that’s normal.

“Neil will definitely be in the running if they finish the season on a high and can secure another treble, which would be unbelievable.

“A triple treble, it’s unheard of.

“I’ve obviously been following Celtic closely and know there are a couple of names being thrown about too, however.

“Neil is probably the safer bet, yes, but it depends on how the outlook is from the board.

“They are obviously aiming to keep winning league trophies, because that’s their bread and butter.

THE CHOIRBHOYS…Johan Mjallby, Garry Parker, Alan Thompson, Stevie Woods and Neil Lennon celebrate a Celtic triumph first time around.

“But they also have Europe to think about and will be looking to crack that nut as that was probably the only disappointment of Brendan’s reign.

“It wouldn’t be a gamble to appoint someone else, but it would depend on the name of the manager coming in.

“It would come down to ensuring that whoever gets the job is really supported to make sure they can get the right players in.

“I’m biased because I know Neil and loved working with him. I know how passionate he is for Celtic.

“If he was to get the job, he would probably play a little bit different to the way the team played under Brendan but that’s natural.

“Even if Roberto Martinez, Andre Villas-Boas, Rafa Benitez or David Moyes got it, they have all got their own style they want the team to play, so it’s important they get the support from the board to get the right players so they keep progressing and improving.”

Northern Ireland international gaffer O’Neill has been added to Belgian manager Martinez and former Chelsea and Spurs coach Villa-Boas among reecent bookies’ favourites.

Lennon, though, has continued to take guide the team through their crucial run-in while trying to put players in place for the next campaign.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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