Neil Lennon has dismissed links with the Norwich manager’s job as mere speculation, even if the Celtic boss is flattered by the suggestion he could be in line for a Premier League job in England.
As newspapers on both sides of the English-Scottish border speculate on Lennon’s chances of succeeding the under-fire Chris Hughton at Norwich, Lennon has admitted he is aware of the story.
But he doesn’t see it as any more than newspaper talk, particularly as Norwich beat Hull City 1-0 at Carrow Road last Saturday to take some of the pressure off former Irish international Hughton.
Lennon, whose own side beat Motherwell 3-0 last weekend said, “It’s just speculation, but I think they won today so I’m delighted for Chris. I think he’ll be safe for another while.
“He’s doing a good job there and keeping them out of the bottom three. I cannot help the speculation, I’m flattered, but he’s a good man and a good manager in that job so good luck to him.”
Another Norwich-Celtic story doing the rounds right now concerns a move by Lennon for the City striker Robert Snodgrass, a lifelong Bhoys fan born within Celtic’s Glasgow catchment area.
“There’s nothing in that. I’m going to get linked with a lot of players but I’m not going to talk about players who are contracted to other clubs,” Lennon said.
In-form striker Kris Commons, who scored twice against Motherwell, believes it is inevitable that Lennon’s name will come up whenever a management vacancy arises in England’s Premier League.
“Our manager is certainly one of the best in the country so he is going to be linked with many more I think,” Commons said.
Lennon saw Irish striker Anthony Stokes sent off as Celtic continued their march towards the Scottish title with a 3-0 win at home to Motherwell on Saturday. Stokes will escape punishment from Lennon after his dismissal.
“I thought Anthony made a genuine attempt to get the ball. He was late and it’s one of those which can be a red card when other times it’s not,” Lennon said.
Commons scored two to add to a Stephen McManus own goal, but the win was spoilt when Stokes was shown a straight red card by referee Bobby Madden late in the game for a challenge on Well skipper Keith Lasley.
Celtic haven’t conceded a goal in nine league games and are now 13 points clear of second-placed Aberdeen with two games in hand, but Lennon is happier with their unbeaten run in the Scottish Premier league.
“The most pleasing stat is that we’re unbeaten in 21 games. That shows great consistency,” he said.
“I must say, though, that my goalkeeper Fraser Forster made a brilliant save at 2-0. His concentration levels are brilliant along with his distribution. He’s the main reason we’ve kept the clean sheet record going, but to be 21 games unbeaten is something the players can be proud of.”
Meanwhile, Norwegian midfielder Stefan Johansen has admitted he can’t wait to get started with Celtic after his move from Stromsgodset.
“It’s a big step. The league is better but the clubs in Norway are not even close to Celtic. It’s a fantastic club,” Johansen said.
“Celtic is one of the biggest clubs in Europe so I’m very happy to be here. You see how much the club means to the supporters so I’m looking forward to playing in front of them.”
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”