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Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Sunday, 31 May 2009 19:12 UK

Lennon to remain at Celtic Park

Neil Lennon challenges Willo Flood on Sunday
Lennon (left) played against the Celtic first-team in Sunday's charity game

Neil Lennon has been assured by Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell that his future with the Glasgow club is safe.

Gordon Strachan stepped down as manager last week after missing out on a fourth consecutive Scottish title, leaving coach Lennon a concerned man.

"It's always a worry when a manager leaves, you don't know what the new manager is going to think," he said.

"Peter has spoken to me at length and he has told me what my role will be next year."

Lennon, who played for a Tommy Burns select side that lost 11-4 to the first-team in Sunday's charity match at Celtic Park, had been called into Strachan's backroom team last April.

His presence coincided with a Celtic revival that led to a third consecutive Scottish Premier League triumph and there had been speculation that Strachan might wish Lennon to follow him to his next managerial destination.

My long-term ambition is to manage Celtic, but I don't see that in the near future

Celtic coach Neil Lennon

"We've had the discussion about what the new manager might think, but Peter made it clear that the club want me to stay," said the 37-year-old Lennon.

"So I will be there to assist the new guy in any way that I can.

"He also asked me for a few recommendations for the job, but I won't tell you.

"We are where we were in 2005 and, after that, we had three and a half great years.

"So hopefully we can get the new man in as quickly as we can and get started again."

Strachan made a surprise appearance at the tribute match to take a bow and was given a warm round of applause by home fans who had not been unanimous in their support for the former Aberdeen and Manchester United midfielder despite his success with the club.

"I was and I wasn't surprised when Gordon left," he said. "I think the Old Firm nowadays has a shelf life of four years.

"I think he thought long and hard about it and, whether we won the league or not, he probably would have went anyway.

"The next manager needs to have a strong personality and a wee bit of charisma.

"And any manager of the Old Firm needs a hide as thick as a rhino."

Lennon ruled himself out of the running - but only for the time being.

"My long-term ambition is to manage Celtic, but I don't see that in the near future," he said.

"I'm sort of at a crossroad about my future. I'm flattered that Celtic want me to stay, but there is a part of me that wants to go and do my own thing.

"But it's a huge job. I haven't got the experience, I still have a lot to learn and I'm not in any great rush."

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see also
Strachan return for Burns tribute
31 May 09 |  Celtic
Robson baffled by Strachan's exit
29 May 09 |  Celtic
Reid dampens Celtic speculation
28 May 09 |  Celtic
Bilic interested in Celtic post
27 May 09 |  Celtic
Celtic face 1m Mowbray price tag
26 May 09 |  West Brom
Strachan eyes McGhee as successor
26 May 09 |  Celtic
Strachan resigns as Celtic boss
25 May 09 |  Celtic

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