Pundit View: Michael Stewart is right to question Celtic’s handling of Neil Lennon situation

BBC Scotland pundit Michael Stewart has questioned the decision to announce that Celtic have offered job of manager to Neil Lennon, speaking on Monday night’s edition of Sportsound.

What’s he said?

In the aftermath of Saturday’s Scottish Cup final win over Hearts, the Hoops took the bold step of announcing that they had offered the permanent management position at Celtic Park to Lennon, stating that the details would be announced in the days that followed.

With no news emerging since then, some have questioned whether Celtic were too quick to make public their intentions, not giving Lennon the chance to reflect on whether he should accept or not.

Stewart reckons the club have taken a risk with their strategy, explaining on Sportsound:

“It’s all very strange from the timing of it, being given to him in the shower area, and now the scenario where Neil Lennon is away and nothing is signed.

“I think perhaps Peter Lawwell was thinking that if he makes the announcement then (after the final) it’s very difficult for Neil Lennon to then publicly turn it down.

“And then it gives him the upper hand in trying to have the negotiations over personal terms and whatever the budget is also.

“You could perhaps suggest that it’s clever from Peter Lawwell. It’s difficult for Neil Lennon. If, just hypothetically, he was to turn round and not take the job, where else does he go?

“It would just be very, very difficult for Neil Lennon to turn it down. It’s almost like a game of Russian Roulette here. I’d imagine that things will get done but it’s all sort of power plays being played out in public here.”

Is he right?

First of all, it’s of course very unlikely that Lennon will turn down the opportunity to manage a club of Celtic’s size, especially when he is a such a renowned lover of the club.

Celtic are usually so buttoned up when it comes to announcements and signing players or managers. Nothing if ever confirmed or commented by the club unless pen has been put to paper.

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As reported by The Scottish Sun on Monday, the Northern Irishman is not going to be a pushover when it comes to discussions on personal terms and a transfer budget, so the club have left themselves slightly exposed to the possibility of an extremely embarrassing scenario of Lennon saying no.

After the sheer elation of a treble treble win, perhaps Celtic should have waited a few days, let Hoops fans celebrate an enormous success and then opened talks with Lennon, allowing everyone to consider the options without emotion.

So yes, Stewart is right to say the situation is very strange and Celtic fans will be hoping for more communication from the club as soon as possible on what’s happening.