NEIL LENNON reckons he is in with a shout of success with John Kennedy and Damien Duff beside him in the dug-out on matchdays.

The Celtic boss has calmed down since his return to the club in February and touchline tantrums look like a thing of the past.

Ropey referee Jose Sanchez, who red-carded Vakoun Issouf Bayo for a non-challenge on a play-acting keeper and dismissed a valid penalty-claim in the 1-1 Europa League draw against Rennes on Thursday, escaped the wrath of the Irishman.

In his first time around at the club, fireworks might have been expected of the Irishman.

Lennon, speaking to the Sunday Mail, admitted: “I now take a step back from things.

“I have got two young, dynamic coaches with me in the dug-out who can make the noise and shout their disapproval. In this day and age, you adapt. You adapt to the players, to the generation.

“Obviously, there are still some things that irk you. But, in the main, I’m in a good place.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity here and I want to make the most of it.

“You have to work at staying calm, but there are aspects of your personality that you can change.

“I don’t want to take away that streak I had in me, either. You never lose that, anyway.

“You can curtail it and there’s a balance. Sometimes the players need a prod, we all do.

“I do that very rarely now. John is a calm, collected person around the place while Damien is like a younger version of me.

“But there’s a really good dynamic between the three of us at the moment.”

Lennon insisted the way the eight-in-a-row champions are performing at the moment makes it easy for him not to blow a fuse.

He added: “In training when I’d go after somebody, I’d come away thinking: ‘I might have been too hard on him there’.

“You learn from that and you learn from your different experiences. I’m not saying I’m the finished article, by any means. I will still be prone to losing my temper.

“But this group is really good to manage right now. There will be pressure games coming up, but, for me, it’s all about maintaining the calmness right now.

“That’s what the boys are used to, so I don’t want to change it.

“I don’t want to change who I am, either, but I can adapt how I approach the players and my personality as a manager.

“Older managers tend to do that now. If you look to give your players a rocket now, they can resent it. Sometimes I’ll say to the coaches: ‘Was that too much?’ and they might say: ‘No, they needed that’.

“So, I get a pretty good steer off them as well.”

Lennon will be flanked by Kennedy and Duff this afternoon when Kilmarnock arrive at Parkhead this afternoon in the hope of spoiling the Hoops’ 100 per cent league record after five successive triumphs.

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About Author


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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