25 May 19
The Scottish Sun
PAT BONNER and his Celtic team went into the 1995 Scottish Cup Final hoping victory would keep Tommy Burns in the manager’s job.
But he fears even another win today might NOT be enough to do the same for Neil Lennon at the Hoops.
Pat Bonner isn’t convinced that Neil Lennon will be the man in charge of the Hoops next season
Stand-in gaffer Lenny could still be on the way out even if he leads the Hoops to a treble Treble against Hearts at Hampden.
And while Bonner, 58 yesterday, says there are parallels from his final Scottish Cup win, he feels there are more doubts over Lennon’s future.
He said: “In 1995 we hadn’t won anything that season and we felt we had to do it for Tommy because we all wanted to keep him in a job.
“We’d lost the League Cup and the likes of myself, Peter Grant and Paul McStay felt more for the manager than we did for ourselves, so we needed to win the Cup.
Neil Lennon poses with the Scottish Cup and Hearts gaffer Craig Levein
“The final was a horrible game. We didn’t play well and Airdrie were tough to play against. It was just the result that mattered and we won 1-0.
“This weekend there’s more pressure on Neil and Craig Levein than on the players, which is unusual. It’s normally players who feel it.
“The pressure’s off now in respect of the title but for Neil it’s different. If he’s got any ideas of getting the manager’s job then he’d want to win the Cup and see what happens.
“Certainly if he lost the final, it would be tough for him.
“Craig hasn’t won anything, so both managers are under pressure.
“If the players want Neil to get the job they need to go out and perform.
Pat Bonner, Kirsty Gallagher and Sandy Clark look ahead to the cup final this afternoon
“It was always going to be a strange week for Neil. If Celtic were going to give him the job they could’ve done it four or five weeks ago and he could’ve got on with preparing for next season.
He’d have been halfway through that now.
“I don’t know if even winning the Cup will give him an opportunity. He’d be a second choice, I think, at this point.
“My biggest worry is regards the preparations for next season. They don’t have enough time. I know they’ll have been looking for players but I don’t know who’ll be picking the players.
“Will a new manager have time to get players in and work with them? Will he have time to adapt them into the way he wants them to play?
Starlet Mikey Johnston will be hoping for a starting spot today after last week’s double salvo against Hearts on trophy day
“It’s three weeks until pre-season and the first Champions League qualifiers are in July. It’s such a short time. They have to bring in four or five players — there are critical positions to be filled.
“I know next year is about the league, most fans will say that about the next two seasons, but we all love to see Celtic do well in Europe. The next manager, Rafa Benitez or whoever, if it’s not Neil, needs to perform in Europe.”
Bonner will be watching Scott Bain in action at Hampden today with special interest after he took over from Craig Gordon as first-choice Celts No 1.
LOVE AFFAIR Scott Brown admits he never thought he’d love Celtic ahead of Scottish Cup Final
He added: “Scott will enjoy it. He played in the Betfred Cup final and won that, so he’s got that experience.
“The only advice I ever got for a final at Hampden from Billy McNeill was to get a good first touch. Then it was about taking an early cross — now it’s about a pass-back. A goalkeeper now has to make the big saves.
“You need a psychology, a good approach, a good technical side and also a tactical knowledge.
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“When Brendan Rodgers was starting and he was working with Craig Gordon, he almost concentrated on the forwards and got that right.
“Craig was struggling and I spoke to him about it at the time. It was when he started working with the other players that he started to develop his game.
“Scott is good with his feet, but he’s made the big saves as well. You can do the rest, but if you don’t make
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