STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

Lennon not planning on major transfer business at Celtic

The Celtic boss is "content" with his goalkeeping options and wider squad.

Lennon not planning on major transfer business at Celtic SNS Group

Celtic manager Neil Lennon isn’t planning on being busy during the January transfer window, with neither signings or exits in great numbers.

The champions are aiming to claw back a 16-point gap between them and league leaders Rangers, and want to make a successful defence of the Scottish Cup, but intend to do that with largely the same squad they have had since the start of the season.

“You are always looking at options and who may come available but we haven’t really struck a blow in any direction regarding that,” Lennon said.

“At the minute I am quite content.”

The manager did concede that wide players may come into consideration if they do go into the market, but the impending return of James Forrest from injury makes that less of a concern.

He said: “We only have one injury really (Forrest), the squad is vibrant and hopefully James will be back in training in a couple of weeks.” 

Lennon insisted he didn’t want to offload anyone, and players who had been linked with transfers abroad would only be sold if it suited Celtic, with the manager wanting to keep all his talent to help with the challenges ahead. And though summer signing Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain have both been sidelined in favour of youngster Conor Hazard in goal, Lennon said he didn’t see that position as one that needed attention.

“I don’t think it will be an area that we will be looking to strengthen at all,” he said.

“We have three very capable goalkeepers. So, in short, the answer is no.

“I am pleased with his (Hazard’s) progress. He’s only had three or four senior games and he has already won a Scottish Cup medal so it is a pretty impressive start to his career.”

Celtic’s next match is against Dundee United on Wednesday and with the Tayside club in mourning at the loss of club legend Jim McLean, Lennon paid tribute to the managerial great.

He said: “I grew up in that era, 13/14 and you had the New Firm of Aberdeen and Dundee United as well as Celtic and Rangers and he was a giant.

“His Dundee United team was one of the best put together in any generation of Scottish football.

“I remember them beating Barcelona and I remember also being really disappointed that they lost the UEFA Cup final to Gothenburg.

“But an incredible achievement and they won the league. He was a giant, really intelligent, a great football guy.

“I got to speak to him a few years ago, I rang him and I think he thought someone was taking the mickey.

“I was at Hibs at the time and I asked him for a little bit of advice but he was a little tentative coming forward because he wasn’t sure if it was me or not.

“But a huge loss, particularly to Dundee United because he was the greatest manager they ever had by a country mile and some of the players and teams he produced were out of this world.”