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Thompson hopes to emulate O'Neill

Updated: Friday, 18 Jun 2010 10:41

Alan Thompson is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Martin O'Neill
Alan Thompson is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Martin O'Neill

New Celtic coach Alan Thompson hopes the Neil Lennon era will have the same immediate impact his former boss Martin O'Neill enjoyed at Parkhead.

Thompson was confirmed as part of Lennon's backroom staff, as the former skipper prepares for his first season at the helm after being named as permanent manager last week.

They now face the task of wresting the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title back from Rangers following a period of dominance by their bitter rivals - just like O'Neill had to do a decade ago.

Asked how long he thinks the new management team will take to turn things around, Thompson said: 'Hopefully quite quickly.

'When I first came in, we had lost the league the season before to Rangers by 14 or 15 points. Martin came in and changed that around quite quickly. We have to try and do the same.

'We have to be positive about it. There is no point coming in if we don't believe we can do it. Neil, Johan Mjallby and myself are people who have been used to winning games and trophies in our careers so that's what we have got to try to instil in the squad.'

Thompson's playing career at Celtic ended three years ago but he has kept tabs on his former club, from the Gordon Strachan period to Tony Mowbray's nine-month tenure and finally Lennon's successful interim spell at the end of last season.

'I've been fairly aware,' said the former midfielder. 'I've been gone for over three years now but I had such an affinity with the place that I always kept an eye on what was happening.

'What I would say is, I think there is a nucleus of good players here, really good players. They are going to be vital to what's going to happen.

'It's Neil's job to go and find the new ones to bring in and hopefully there will be a few. He might ask my opinion - but he probably won't use it!'

When quizzed on what he believes he can bring to the job, Thompson said: 'Enthusiasm and a winning mentality. I'm very positive, both on and off the pitch. Hopefully I'll also bring a decent knowledge of the game.'

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