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Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 17:19 UK

Celtic interim boss Neil Lennon blasts Charlie Nicholas

Celtic interim manager Neil Lennon, Charlie Nicholas and Dermot Desmond
Neil Lennon dismissed Charlie Nicholas's criticism of Dermot Desmond

Interim Celtic manager Neil Lennon has blasted Charlie Nicholas after the club's former striker criticised majority shareholder Dermot Desmond.

Nicholas, now a football pundit, accused Desmond and the board of presiding over the worst Celtic squad he had ever seen.

"I've been here 10 years and I've never seen Charlie Nicholas walk in through the door," said Lennon.

"So what Charlie knows about this club I do not know."

Nicholas, who played for Celtic during two spells between 1980-83 and 1990-95, was quoted criticising Desmond's handling of the club, accusing him of treating the Glasgow club like "a toy" and failing to invest properly in the playing staff.

If he's criticising Dermot about Dermot's input into this club then he hasn't got a clue what he's talking about

Celtic interim boss Neil Lennon

But Lennon dismissed Nicholas's criticism and expressed frustration at having to answer questions about the former striker.

"He'll be getting a lot of things second hand: rumours, phone calls, whatever," said the interim boss.

"If he's criticising Dermot about Dermot's input into this club then he hasn't got a clue what he's talking about.

"I'm really annoyed that I have to give somebody like Charlie, who does nothing but bang away at Scottish football and Celtic, any press time at all; it irks me."

Lennon, who took over when Tony Mowbray was sacked last month, defended the board in the wake of Nicholas's criticism.

"The board have been very supportive to any of the managers that I've been associated with," he said.

With Celtic facing a trophy-less season, Lennon believes the best way to entice disgruntled supporters back to Celtic Park is by producing winning football.

Only 21,000 fans witnessed the midweek victory over Motherwell and Lennon is determined to halt the decline.

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"You can only do that by putting on performances on the pitch," he said.

"Getting results and entertaining the people, obviously word spreads quickly. The game was live (on television) the other day; it'll be live tomorrow.

"People who stay away will probably watch it on the TV and it's up to the players. They're the only ones at the moment who can convince the fans to come back.

"In the long-term, it'll be down to what happens in the summer."

Celtic entertain Hibernian in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday, looking to narrow the gap on leaders Rangers, who face Hearts 24 hours later.



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see also
Lennon wants winning habit at Celtic
16 Apr 10 |  Scotland
Celtic 3-2 Hibernian
17 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier
Lennon challenge for Celtic squad
12 Apr 10 |  Celtic


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