Lennon making plans for change
eil Lennon has confirmed he has already handed the Celtic board a list of players he wants out of the club at the end of the season. Caretaker manager Lennon refused to reveal the identities of those he has recommended to major shareholder Dermot Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell. But if the former Parkhead captain's behaviour during Saturday's shock Active Nation Scottish Cup semi-final defeat is anything to go by, Landry N'Guemo, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Georgios Samaras may well feature on that list. N'Guemo was hauled of before half-time at Hampden, while Lennon singled out forwards Fortune and Samaras for criticism in what was a scathing post-match interview. Asked if he had made his recommendation to the board, Lennon said: "Yes - but I'm not going to tell you who." Saturday's defeat, widely regarded as one of the worst in Celtic's 123-year history, hurt Lennon's hopes of landing the manager's job on a permanent basis. But the Northern Irishman appeared cautiously optimistic the result had not been the death knell for him, saying: "I'll be judged over the next five or six games and we'll assess it in the summer and speak to the powers that be." He added: "I've spoken to Peter and I've spoken to Dermot. "They're private conversations and not they're for the public consumption just yet." Lennon did acknowledge the board "might" ultimately judge him on the one performance and that supporters may feel the same. "I can understand the fans at the minute thinking, 'He's nowhere near ready for it, hasn't got the experience for it'," said the 38-year-old, who reiterated his desire to succeed Tony Mowbray. Some fans made their feelings known by descending on Parkhead after Saturday's defeat to confront the squad as they arrived back from Hampden. Lennon expects similar hostility when Celtic host Motherwell in the SPL on Tuesday. "I think that's pretty obvious," said Lennon ahead of his fourth game in charge. "I think it'll be a difficult night for the players, basically the same as it was for my first game against Kilmarnock on the back of the St Mirren performance. "They showed a lot of character that day, so they'll have to do the same again." Lennon acknowledged Celtic were lacking leaders but he does not believe they are alone in this respect. "They're a dying breed, I think, not just in Scotland," he said. "Maybe it's the culture of football these days. "There's something missing at a younger level. "I like the kids who just want to play football. They fall over, cut their hands on the tarmac, get up. "They don't run home and get treated; they just wipe it on the knee and want to play again." Some supporters may choose to stay away tomorrow in protest and, as a lifelong Hoops fan, Lennon would not blame them. "Not at all," he said. "We'd be grateful for any support that we do get tomorrow night." Lennon has stuck with the same outfield players for all three of his games in charge so far and while changes appear certain tomorrow, Lennon believes a wholesale cull would be counter-productive. "We need to win games between now and the end of the season and I can't be just making panicky changes just on the premise of one game," he said. "What I want to do is finish second, put any kind of pressure on Rangers. "Ultimately, we have to qualify for the Champions League." Celtic's players have been quick absolve Lennon of any responsibility for Saturday's defeat but the man himself said: "I'm as culpable as anyone for the performance. "I can't put my finger on why because, in the three previous games, they showed they had wee bit about them." The result has also seen the club's board come under fire but Lennon said: "The performance was nothing to do with the board, nothing to do with Tony Mowbray, because he's not here. "(It is) me and the players and my staff."
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