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Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Friday, 2 April 2010 15:51 UK

Neil Lennon plans for Stephen McManus return to Celtic


Lennon sees Celtic future for McManus

Interim Celtic manager Neil Lennon says he and assistant Johan Mjallby are making plans for next season - and they include former captain Stephen McManus.

Previous manager Tony Mowbray allowed the central defender to go on loan to Middlesbrough, who are reportedly keen to keep him in Teesside.

"He is a good player, he has captained the team and won three championships in a row here," said Lennon.

"So that is the sort of mentality we want at this club."

Former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan's signing hopes will be strengthened should Middlesbrough win promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

But Lennon said: "I will be speaking to Stephen in the next few weeks and gauge how he is getting on.

The training is very similar to the way it was under Martin O'Neill

Celtic midfielder Aiden McGeady

"I think he is just concentrating on getting games under his belt and I don't want to rock that at the moment.

"If he is enjoying his football down there then great, but he is our player at the end of the day and he will coming back and we will talk to him then."

Lennon, who took charge last week until the end of the season, reiterated that he and Mjallby have been given no assurances by the board that they will still be in charge next term.

However, he said: "Johan and I have already spoken this morning, looking towards the following season, if I am still here.

"I have some ideas in my head, but we will talk about that in more detail as the rest of the season progresses and as the close season comes upon us.

"The board will have a target of what their budget is and what their targets will be and I will be helping them along with that.

"I stress I have been no assurances, we will see how we go."

Lennon's former team-mate, Aiden McGeady, accepts that the relationship between the two men has changed in the last week.

"It's slightly different, but I am still not calling him gaffer," said the midfielder, who is certain to be in the starting line-up for Sunday's Scottish Premier League game with Hibernian at Easter Road.

"He is just the same guy, but of course he is running the team just now and he has that respect which he had as a player.

"If you are doing well, he will tell you and, if you are not doing well, he will tell you.

"He is one of those guys, there are no mixed messages.


"He knows football, he has been around the game for years and we are all hoping that everything will go well until the end of the season."

McGeady revealed that Lennon made an immediate impact on the training ground by pinching some drills favoured by former Celtic manager Martin O'Neill, now with Aston Villa.

"It has been slightly different, but I don't mean that in a bad way," the Republic of Ireland midfielder said, referring to the time of Mowbray.

"If you are used to something for so long, something different can be refreshing.

"The training is very similar to the way it was under Martin O'Neill. I think Lenny has taken a few of his ideas on board.

"The first day we had a game of 'old versus young', which we hadn't had since Gordon Strachan, but it was done the way Martin O'Neill used to do it. There is a little bit more of a fun aspect in it.

"Lenny knows what players are like, they want to enjoy training and it's not so much stop-start all the time. It has been enjoyable so far."

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see also
Hibernian 0-1 Celtic
04 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier
McDonald backs Lennon for Celtic
01 Apr 10 |  Celtic
Hartson backs Lennon for Celtic
31 Mar 10 |  Celtic
Celtic job has big appeal - Brown
30 Mar 10 |  Celtic
Lennon relief at Celtic victory
27 Mar 10 |  Celtic

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