Neil Lennon’s champagne dreams with a Kool-Aid budget

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Sitting there in the dugout was hard enough. He’d rather be running with his players, doing anything but sitting. So Neil Lennon got up. But standing wasn’t helpful, either.  “I was up and down and up and down,” he told reporters. “I was trying to stay calm, but inside my stomach was churning.”

He was living the final defining moments and seconds of his managerial career, and they were horrible. The type of minutes you want to hasten, not savour. Five minutes of stoppage time stood in the way of his Celtic — and it is increasingly becoming his, the imprint of his success becoming more and more indelible in this most historical year, its 125th, for the club, and the next round of the Champions League.

So Lennon chewed his gum. “It’s taking a pounding,” said one commentator. But he needn’t have worried. Georgios Samaras did such a good job possessing the ball – hording it, really, as he had all game, in the farthest corner of the field that time ticked off harmlessly. And then the whistle blew. Lennon threw his arms in the air, but, being one of the most effusive managers in the game, he did not bellow or run rampantly or bawl. He was stoic.

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon interview after “Football at Fenway” victory over Sporting

By Eric and Jordan Beard, writing from Boston

After the highly anticipated “Football at Fenway” match at the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park between Celtic FC and Sporting Clube de Portugal, which Celtic won on penalties after regulation finished 1-1, Celtic manager Neil Lennon talked about the everything from the match to playing in a baseball stadium. We were able to ask him what he thought about the strong support shown by the Irish Celtic supporters in Boston and about the current situation of his squad, which he admitted needs a few more players. He was adamant that he needed a goalkeeper to replace Artuc Boruc, who has gone to Fiorentina. He also told us how this particular friendly against Sporting was a perfect warm-up for his side’s Champions League qualifying match against SC Braga on July 29th.

 

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