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Lennon hits back at Nicholas
Published : 16 Apr 2010 16:29:00
eil Lennon has aimed a stinging rebuke at Charlie Nicholas after the former Celtic star launched an outspoken attack on the club's hierarchy. Nicholas has blamed major shareholder Dermot Desmond, chief executive Peter Lawwell and chairman John Reid for what he claims is the worst squad he has ever seen at Parkhead. Desmond came in for the worst criticism, with Nicholas accusing him of treating Celtic like "a toy" and failing to invest properly in the playing staff. Caretaker manager Lennon has a close relationship with billionaire benefactor Desmond and reacted angrily to Nicholas' outburst. "I've been here 10 years, 10 years, right; I've never seen Charlie Nicholas walk in through the door," he said. "So what Charlie knows about this club, I do not know. "If he's criticising Dermot, about Dermot's input into this club then he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. "And I'm really annoyed that I have to give somebody like Charlie - who does nothing but bang away at Scottish football, bang away at Celtic - any press time at all. It irks me." Celtic's supporters have also vented their anger at the board during what is set to be one of the most miserable seasons in the club's recent history. But former Hoops captain Lennon, who stepped up from his role as reserve-team coach following Tony Mowbray's sacking last month, insisted the Parkhead powerbrokers could hardly have done more. "The board have been very supportive to any of the managers that I've been associated with," he said. Lennon's players endured most of the fans' wrath in the wake of Saturday's shock Active Nation Scottish Cup defeat to Ross County and Celtic Park was less than a third full for Tuesday night's Clydesdale Bank Premier League win against Motherwell. Lennon, whose side host Hibernian tomorrow, believes the key to getting stay-away supporters back through the turnstiles is simple. "You can only do that by putting on performances on the pitch," he said. "Getting results and entertaining the people, obviously word spreads quickly. "The game was live (on television) the other day; it'll be live tomorrow. "People who stay away will probably watch it on the TV and it's up to the players. "They're the only ones at the moment who can convince the fans to come back. "In the long term, it'll be down to what happens in the summer." Failure to win tomorrow would give Rangers the chance to wrap up the SPL title with four games to spare. Lennon, who won five league championships while a player at Parkhead, said: "I said to the players, 'Make them sweat as long as we can'. "Because I've been in that position on the flip side of it, and you do get a wee bit anxious and you do get a wee bit agitated. "People might say it's a foregone conclusion but you've got to keep winning the games and keep making them go out and win it." Dundee United, who are seven points behind second-placed Celtic, will also be looking for Lennon's men to slip up tomorrow ahead of their trip to Motherwell on Sunday. "I think it's important tomorrow to win the game, because we haven't won four (league) games in a row all season," Lennon said. "It's vitally important, I think, psychologically. "Dundee United the following week is a huge game for us in terms of how we move forward." Meanwhile, Lennon backed Steven Davis or David Weir to win the PFA Scotland Player of the Year prize. Rangers dominated the nominations yesterday, with Celtic also notable from their absence in any category. Lennon said: "It's a sad indictment on the performances this season."