John Hartson: Lennon fit for Premier League

Celtic legend John Hartson believes that a win over Juventus in the Champions League might open doors for Neil Lennon to be hunted by the top Premier League clubs.

Lennon was responsible for Celtic’s remarkable victory over Barcelona in November which resulted in his club to qualify from the group stages of Europe’s elite club competition.

John Hartson

Moreover, Lennon’s second successive SPL title virtually assured with a third of the season still to go impressed the Wales coach and he now believes that Lennon can be a possible upgrade option by the top Premier League clubs.

“Neil was thrown in at the deep end without any real managerial experience when he replaced Tony Mowbray. But he’s done a great job and he’s getting better all the time,” said Hartson, in an interview given to Goal.com.

“The Premier League is a managerial merry-go-round and I’ve no doubt that Neil will be in demand. I’m sure he would have no problems taking charge of a Premier League club in England.

“Celtic fans won’t want to hear that because they don’t want him to go, but they will be reassured to know that Neil is very happy at the club and it would have to be something special for him to even consider leaving.”

Harston and Lennon were team-mates when Celtic was able to break through the defenses of Juventus to book a victory over them and Barcelona three years later. The Celtic boss now plans a rare player/manager double to overcome two of the Europe’s top clubs.

Harston also believes that the recent success of Lennon in this season’s Champions League group stages have proven that Lennon is tactically strong.

“His achievements in the Champions League group stage showed he is tactically astute and it put a marker down.

“He didn’t have the millions that was spent by Barcelona, and the other teams in the group, Benfica and Spartak Moscow, but he got them well organised and they were very effective soaking up pressure and hitting on the break.

“Being the manager of Celtic brings with it real pressures, and that will stand him in good stead wherever he goes after Celtic.

“Martin O’Neill, his old boss at Celtic, used to say that you are never more than three or four bad results away from the sack because of the demands of the job, and that is a heavy weight on young shoulders.

“To be honest, I never really saw Neil as a future manager when we were team-mates, but then again, I used to travel to training at Celtic with Paul Lambert and I never saw it with Paul, either.”

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