Media view: Herald's Michael Grant on Neil Lennon

Chief Football Writer at the Herald gives us his views on Neil Lennon's appointment as Bolton boss

Following Neil Lennon’s appointment as the new Bolton Wanderers manager on Sunday evening, caught up with Michael Grant, Chief Football Writer at the Herald, to get the lowdown on the former Celtic boss.

Michael has been reporting on the Old Firm since May 1999 and, having seen the Northern Irishman grow from Celtic midfield-general to Barcelona-conquering manager, is better placed than most to give his assessment on the latest man to warm the BL6 dugout.

“Neil has been a big figure in Scotland and in Scottish football. There has been a lot of interest in where he would resurface in football after he left Celtic. It was always going to be a fascinating next job. 

“For me handling the Celtic job is a really big thing to have on someone’s CV. If you can handle Celtic with the size of the support they have and the pressure and scrutiny that they come under, then I think that equips you for a lot of other jobs. If you can handle that you can handle anything.   

“I think he is an impressive guy. I can’t promise you that he will be an absolute hit at Bolton but I don’t see why he wouldn’t be.  The club might not be in the position it was say ten years ago, but Neil is an experienced manager. He is a good man-manager and is used to pressured situations. 

“He was quite keen to get into English football. That’s not a secret. He wants to challenge himself and he wants to manage in the Premier League. He’s looking at the size of the club and sees the potential when he looks at Bolton. 

“It wasn’t that long ago when they were in the Premier League so that’s obviously going to be his long-term target now. His ambitions lie in the top flight and if he can take Bolton with him then that’s all the better for you guys.

“The highlight of his time at Celtic, at least in terms of the impact it made, was when they beat Barcelona in the Champions League. They won 2-1 at Parkhead in 2012, while only a last-minute goal saw them lose the return tie in the Nou Camp. 

“Those two games were very impressive from how Neil set his team out. They were very organised, very structured. They knew how to restrict Barcelona. They harassed them and denied them space. Those two games I think made people sit up and take notice that Neil Lennon really had something.

“I think the Bolton fans will really warm to Neil. They will see that this is a guy who will give them as much as he gave Celtic. He will buy into Bolton, they will become his cause, and he is not going to be shy about fighting their corner.

“He will want to create a buzz and a stir around Bolton. He will want to get the town talking about its football club again, he’ll want to get the crowds up and he’ll want to get people really believing that Bolton are heading somewhere again.”
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