Celtic owner Dermot Desmond pledges support for Neil Lennon
By: CATHAL DERVAN | Published Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 9:56 AM | Updated Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 9:56 AM
Celtic owner Dermot Desmond has vowed to keep manager Neil Lennon at the club for “a long, long time” after his first trophy win with victory over Motherwell in Saturday’s Scottish Cup final.
Desmond told a Glasgow radio station that he will finally reward Lennon with a long-term contract in the wake of the 3-0 win at Hampden Park.
Reacting to the news, Lennon said, “I’m pleased. It’s great to hear, although he’s not said that to me yet!
“He’s been a great supporter. This time last year, after the Ross County defeat, he was on the phone to me and gave me great encouragement.
“Throughout the season he has given me a lot of good advice, as has chief executive Peter Lawwell and chairman John Reid.”
Korean midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng and Charlie Mulgrew scored either side of a Stephen Craigan own goal, off a Mark Wilson shot, as Celtic easily saw off the Motherwell challenge to finally reward their manager at the end of a very difficult season.
Lennon added. “I love the job, I love the challenge that lies ahead. I’ve had great backing from the board in general.
“There is a conflict of feelings because we didn’t win the league but there is a lot of satisfaction from the season overall. It’s nice to put a trophy in the cabinet and hopefully we can build on that.
“I didn’t feel any extra pressure going into the game today and I haven’t felt much under pressure at all this season.
“It might be a bit more next season when the expectation builds but that comes with the territory of being the manager of Celtic.”
As for his first trophy as Celtic manager, Lennon said, “I wouldn’t say it’s a weight off my shoulder but it’s nice to have it on my CV.
“Winning the Scottish Cup isn’t enough in terms of what I would have wanted from the season. But it’s important and important to me personally.
“It’s a great feeling. I’m more pleased for the players and the supporters than anyone else. It’s been a great day for the club. We could have been more clinical but to win a cup final 3-0, and play in the style we have tried to play all season, is very pleasing.
“We haven’t had a trophy at the club for a couple of years, which is probably not good enough for a club of our standing.
“I said to the players that they have to cherish these days. We were a dominant team under Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan and sometimes you take that for granted. When you don’t have it, you realize what you have when it’s not there.
Defender Daniel Majstorovic believes Celtic can build on this Scottish Cup success next season.
“The cup win was very important and this will give us a boost for the future,” said Majstorovic. “We will start off on a totally different level next season.
“We had a lot of new players and have been working together all season. Now we will have a pre-season together and I think this will make a difference for next season.
“We work hard as a unit and you can feel the team spirit and this is just the start of what you will see from Celtic in the future.
“We were all disappointed last week, of course, we all worked hard all season to win the league. That was our main target but the fans gave us a boost after the last SPL game and we wanted to give them something back and we did so it was a great finish to the season.”
Israeli midfielder Beram Kayal has told Celtic he wants to stay at Parkhead next season, but utility player Efrain Juarez wants to quit.