Lennon confident Celtic will keep stars for ten-in-a-row bid

Celtic manager believes prized assets such as Odsonne Edouard will stay with the club.

Neil Lennon isn’t planning major changes to his squad and is confident his top stars under contract will remain at Celtic, as the club targets a historic tenth league title in a row.

Earlier this week, the SPFL named Celtic as Premiership champions for a ninth successive season following a controversial vote to end the campaign prematurely.

Every club is set to suffer a financial blow as a result of the pandemic, even Celtic, who are by a distance the wealthiest club in Scotland.

But Lennon, who has a number of key assets, including star striker Odsonne Edouard, believes he can keep his squad intact.    

When asked if the financial impact of the coronavirus could result in losing one or two key players, Lennon told STV: “I wouldn’t have thought so. Our players are predominantly on long-term contracts so we are in a strong position in that situation.

“We are not looking at making major changes at all, or rebuilding. Maybe one or two areas where we look to improve, but, again, we don’t know what the landscape is going to look like.”

The Celtic manager stressed there was uncertainty about how the transfer market would be affected by coronavirus.

Lennon said: “We don’t know what the budgets of our club and other clubs are going to be and we don’t know how the transfer window is going to work throughout the second half of the year.

“Obviously we will be prepared for that, but in terms of wholesale changes we are not going to make many at all.”   

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, football was suspended in March and won’t return before June 10 at the earliest.

The new Premiership season may not commence until August or September and when it does get under way, matches are likely to be played behind closed doors.

While the SPFL are hopeful the top flight can fulfil all of next season’s fixtures, the lower leagues face a much stiffer challenge.

It may be October before the Championship starts. Second-tier clubs will next week discuss plans for a scaled down 18-game season, with teams playing each other twice as opposed to four times a season.

The picture is even more bleak for League One and League Two. They are discussing the possibility of commencing their season in the new year.

Some clubs may struggle to get through this pandemic and Lennon believes the SPFL may need to consider league reconstruction, if there’s a danger of clubs going bust.

He told STV: “Hopefully we can get back to where we were, but it’s going to take time. We may have to look at reconstruction as a viable possibility going forward.

“We are taking it day to day and we have the best people behind the scenes on how to resolve this as quickly as possible.’’  

When asked if any reconstruction should be a temporary measure, Lennon said: “Yeah, temporary. We may be looking at clubs going bust. And if that is the case, then we may have to look at reconstructing the leagues’’

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